Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

This morning at 6am Ally woke not feeling very well. It was pretty early and her stomach was bothering her. Tears. Later in the morning, after going up to my Dad's for pancakes (which she did not eat) her head started hurting. More tears. This was all followed by me. Panicking. Calling to find out the hours of the blood lab because I do think her counts are going too low. My head started hurting in misery. Visions of Christmas of 2009 were swimming in my head. Why, oh why, could I not just have a worry-free holiday? After taking her temperature multiple times, we gave her some ibuprofen. And it worked. She started perking up midday. And started eating. And showing signs of all her excitement about Christmas. I have never seen her so excited about it really. Maybe two years worth of excitement have brewed up within her.

So Jerad and I started to breathe a little easier. We had a most awesome time up at my Dad's house tonight with all of our family surrounding us. Evan winning the game of pass the pickle and Jerad getting his cool gift of a remote control helicopter. And Evan saying so cutely: Wow, everyone really loves Ally's hair. We got to go to church. All 5 of us together. Me, barely able to eek out a Merry Christmas to our pastor without a lump in my throat and choking back tears for what God has given to us this year. The greatest gift of all which is the restoration of health to our daughter. The gratitude is overfloweth on this day.

Yesterday, some of us cancer Moms took down Christmas dinner to the hospital. We fed the whole Hem/Onc wing and had enough left over to feed the ICU families. I walked down the long corridor, with my offering of food, saying silent prayers as I passed each room and peeked inside to see a little one in a hospital bed at Christmas. I remember it all well. I remember the decorations. I remember being in the room last year and watching other people come. The same little boy that we celebrated Christmas with last year...he was still in there. I remember driving a Christmas tree down to the hospital at 11 pm on Christmas Eve...barely able to see the road through my tears. While my friend Suzanne came and set out my gifts and put things together and even did my dishes. It is a Christmas I will never forget.

But this year, my little ones are upstairs snug in their beds. And Dad is putting together some toys. And cookies are on my mantel. And all is good for now. And Santa has some work to do, so I should really get off my computer. I just wanted to remember this feeling right now. But it is really almost unexplainable, so I will leave it at that.

Merry Christmas to all. And to all a good night......

Monday, December 20, 2010

Believe xmas

My Christmas Card for this year. I am posting it online again for all those that I may have neglected. The picture???? eh, so so, I definitely have better....but the message is so very clear. I had to use this picture as the Wish was the highlight of our year. Hope everyone is enjoying the week before Christmas!

Elegant Cross Religious Christmas Card
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spinal is Done (for three more months)

I have some excellent news that is worthy of all Christmas wishes combined. Ally's spinal fluid was free and clear of any leukemic cells. Praise to God yet again.

She had a super long day at the hospital 8:30am until 7:30 pm because someone forgot to put the orders in right. Wow that is frustrating enough in itself! She did fairly good with the spinal. She went almost to sleep she was sort of sleeping with her eyes open until he poked her with the big needle and she screamed. Wow I hate that part. She went back into her sleep trance while he drained out three test tubes of fluid (one for hematology lab, one for chemistry, and one extra in case he was suspicious and had to do a flow cytometery on it). Then he put in a double dose of chemo (she gets more now that she is nine...and this is the first spinal since she turned 9!). She didn't yell again until he pulled the big needle back out. It all seems pretty quick, like 15 minutes, and you would think I would be used to it by now, but it is still tough on us. I think the main reason for that is just the fear (FEAR) of recurrence. She doesn't get the heavy hitter chemo like she used to and they only check her fluid every three months. It can just weigh heavily on our hearts leading up to it even though we try to turn it all over to God. So that gives me that much more reason to celebrate when Dr B told us the good news.

Her liver numbers were a bit elevated which was concerning, but Dr B thinks it is just from all the medication she takes. (the daily chemo) Her ANC had dropped all the way down to 990....it was 1350 just a few days before so that scares me that it is falling too quick. But he kept her meds the same. I just do no want that perfect storm to be set up like we had last Christmas when she was in the hospital with a low ANC.

Today was supposed to be our family Christmas with Jerad's family. Today was also supposed to be Carly's dance recital. They were dancing to Rudolph! However, my baby girl came down with a fever about an hour before we had to leave. And that is really just how my luck works! So last year I stayed home from Christmas with Ally....and this year I stay home with Carly. And I am just sad she is missing her dance, but also happy that Ally is getting to go to Christmas and we were blessed with the good results.

I can handle a fever when it is with the child that doesn't require a mandatory trip to the ER. We will just cuddle a little more and watch some Frosty. But I do hope it does not spread to my older girl. I would like to remain far far away from that ER, especially at Christmas. So say a little prayer for Miss Ally if you would!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Special Wish

Ally and Selena made the cover of the Special Wish Newsletter. I hope you can read it...you might have to double click it to make it better.

For those of you that ask me about my Dad (lots of people) he had his procedure done and he is really doing much better. It was like instant relief for him after they shocked his heart. He actually felt so good he went to Florida for a week, but will now be returning to all of our snow. We had two snow days this week (much to Ally's dismay today because now she is missing all the fun holiday stuff at school)

Please say extra prayers as she has her spinal tap on Friday morning at the hospital, followed by a days worth of chemo and other infusions. We used to do spinal taps almost once a week for a period of time. Now we are every three months. I know one thing...they never get any easier and they are never fun to watch your child going through them. It is stressful, but we can handle it all as long as the results are good. I will try to update on here as soon as we have her spinal fluid results.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Funny Stuff

So we tried to get a family Christmas picture. All posey posey, which typically is not my style. I even got my manual out for my camera...and learned how to do the self timer. Got the tripod out. We were all prettied up from going to breakfast with Santa (more on that later). and we aren't all prettied up very often. Maybe just once a year actually. But the humor of trying to get the picture with 3 year old Carly really got to me. Frustrating while it was happening, but funny now.

SHOT #1 Oops, Jerad was too late getting in there.
SHOT #2 OH, Carly found an ornament......look
SHOT #3 And, she has now dropped the ornament
SHOT #4 DOH! she dropped it.
SHOT #5 She decides to close her eyes....lovely smile though
SHOT #6 Where in the heck did Carly go?!?
SHOT #7 This will have to be our winner because everyone was DONE.
I just had to share that because Carly is a funny girl. Although most of the time I am closer to crying than laughing with HER!
Also, we had Ally's bloodwork done on Thursday and her ANC has finally dropped down to exactly where they want it. 1350 is her number. PERFECT. 75mg of 6 MP 5x week, 50mg 6 MP 2x week, and 28 mg of methotrexate on Tuesdays. Just for my reference.
We are having fun enjoying the entire month of Christmas this year. We made our Sugar Cookies on Friday, saw Santa on Saturday and also checked out some Christmas lights. Today Ally and I took an awesome Christmas cupcake decorating class at our local cake shop. It was really fun, even though I didn't much have time for it, but we learned a lot and had a blast. I might even have to post pictures of our creations.
Her spinal is this Friday. She will be admitted at 8:30 am. Please pray for her spinal fluid to be clear. This is our only wish for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thanks WSU!

I have been neglectful about posting something for a while. It has been on my list for a while, but I was kind of waiting to see how things turned out.

Much to my surprise, I opened my mail a few days ago, and there was a check for Ally's Army for $3230.00. The amazing amazing people at Wright State decided to have a fundraising soccer game with Ally being the honoree and benefactor of the event. The wonderful part of this event is that the whole thing was done out of the generosity of their hearts. Noone had to do it for us, but they did. I hope that they trusted Ally's Army would do something worthwhile with the funds they have raised. The Men's soccer coach, Bryan Davis, was the leader of this event with NINE sororities and fraternities who also unanimously voted to make Ally's Army their charity of choice for the Fall quarter. They all did various things to raise money. THE ZTA girls were especially nice to our daughter Ally and came out to paint her nails right before we left for CA. They also made her a Build A Bear, brought us dinner the night of the game, and one AWESOME ZTA, Renai Bowers, spent an entire day making orange Ally's Army ice cream sandwiches for the event. She had never even met Ally. Who does that?? Well, Renai did (and now we love her and she also babysat for us Sat night, thanks Renai). And our friend Dr Bamberger, his son plays soccer for WSU, had an entire wine tasting lunch to support our cause at Jay's Restaurant. Thanks Brent.

We also had a quite a few of our friends and family attend the soccer game. It is so nice for Ally to see that support and we were quite grateful to all who attended.

At this time of the year, when sometimes things are stressful, I must remember that the spirit of the season lives in all of us. I have seen it evidenced over and over and over again by complete strangers.

So now we will pay it forward to two worthy organizations. I am going to split the money and donate it to two organizations near to my heart: A Kid Again (providing events for kids here locally) and A Special Wish, who funded Ally's wish to go to California. I will keep working for these organizations, both somewhat small and both who need our help to continue to better the lives of these sick kids.




Two prayer requests for today. My Dad is going into the hospital tomorrow to hopefully get his heart "shocked" back into rhythm. He has to go under general anethesia for this. He has been miserable for SEVEN weeks while waiting for his blood to get to the right thickness so they could safely do this. Praying praying that it works.

Also, starting to get anxiety about Ally's upcoming spinal tap. It is next Friday (17th). She has a few stray bruises and one weird rash all on her belly. Any little thing like that can heighten my alert and prayers. I just pray for spinal fluid free of all leukemic cells and that we can enjoy this holiday in the peace of our own home.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another Angel for us.

Sooooo. Heaven has another angel up there. Grandma Josie passed away on Tuesday morning. After being "asleep" and without any food/water/IV for ten days...she put up a very valiant fight. I can only imagine how strong her heart was. She surprised everybody by holding on so long. We just wished for her peace.

Her Obituary:
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/erietimesnews/obituary.aspx?n=mary-joan-feisler-dailey-josie&pid=146871978&fhid=8452

Jerad, my sister and I traveled to Pennsylvania for the services. It was quite a sad time for me. Although I have to say the services were absolutely beautiful, just as she would have wanted. My Grandpa was so proud for that. He would just well up with pride and/or sadness and say "Janel, this is just what she wanted. To a tee." He told me that repeatedly. We honored her life with our memories and I enjoyed spending so much time with my Grandpa. I got to hear many more stories about my family that I didn't already know.

Although 91 is a good life -her birthday was the same day as her visitation at the funeral home :(..it doesn't take away the loss. And for me, well, I have this picture sitting on my piano. A photo taken not too long ago. A four generation photo of Ally, Me, Mom and Grandma. And now two of the generations are gone. And I am, GULP, the oldest generation. I am not very fond of that fact.

The good part in all of this is that she is walking with Jesus now. She got to see her daughter again. And I am quite certain that Mom was up their making her birthday cake. I even caught Evan telling his best buddy that Ma had a big birthday present waiting for Grandma Josie. Man, that boy has learned his lessons the hard way. But Heaven to him is a good place. And he is right. It is. So she lives on in happiness and we are only left here to mourn another loss.

The Reverend asked if I would like to speak at my Grandma's service. I did, along with my Uncle Doug. Wow it was hard to speak through tears, but I did it for her. She would have wanted it that way. The best thing I can say about my Grandma is that she always made me feel special. I could do no wrong in her eyes. Not too many people loved me like she did. So I wrote down my thoughts the night before and spoke this at her funeral service:

I have had the privilege of having my grandmother for 38 years. Not too many people can say that. And what a grandmother she was. If you could picture in your mind a perfect "grandmotherly type" it would be my Grandma Josie.

SWEET
LITTLE
HAPPY
LOVING

Any picture that I ever drew for her would bring tears to her eyes. Any gift was the best gift that she ever received. Any meal that was made for her would keep her full for a week.

She had the most pleasant disposition of anyone I've ever known. She always had a smile or a kind word for anyone.
Along with my Grandpa, she taught me how to have a long and happy marriage. I never heard a harsh word come out of her mouth. They were married for 65 years, living in the same house on California Drive for nearly that entire time.
I moved away from Erie when I was 5 years old--much to my grandmother's dismay. So for years we wrote letters back and forth to each other. Upon my graduation, she gave me a book with every letter that I had ever sent to her. She had saved every one and now I have a treasure documenting my life.
Her life was filled with raising three children: Gail, Marcy, and Doug. She was blessed with four granddaughters. And eventually, much to her delight she got to meet 5 great-grandchildren: 3 boys and 2 girls. Visiting with them was a highlight of her days. Thankfully we were all together for one last visit in August just before she fell ill. Her backyard was one of my favorite places on this Earth. I have many memories there and a lot of them involve Grandma and her birds. She always kept clean water in the bird bath and the feeders were filled so her "friends" could come to her house. She was also very diligent about putting a half of an orange hanging out there so the Baltimore Oriole would come. She loved the Orioles.
Her life was not without hard times. She suffered so while watching her son and daughter in law both battle cancer. And god bless her for having to face the unthinkable: She lost her own daughter Marcy (my mom) just about a year and a half ago. And shortly after that her 7 year old great-granddaughter was diagnosed with leukemia.
And all that Grandma could say was why them? "why not me?" In her infinitely unselfish ways she wanted to take their place. Grandma Josie will always have a very special place in my heart. She knew how much I loved her. She knew how much we all loved her.
2 days short of 91 years. She lived a wonderful life and she should be proud. And in her own words, the last words spoken by her to my Aunt, she said
"It was all good."

Many of our family did not make the trip in for the services. I promised that I would take pictures. Jerad did the best he could. And I have them all here to see. I am guessing most of you won't want to look at them though because they are sad. But some of the McHenrys/Feislers were not there and some of our family too. So here you go:


video

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. And at risk for sounding "un"thankful or ungrateful...I would be lying if I said the holiday was not hard on me. I definitely try to hide any negativity to anyone out there, except maybe Jerad. And I know lots of people would say the exact same thing...that the holidays are hard... and understand exactly how difficult they can be when you have gone through tough times. Those people that generally say "look at the positive" have also generally not experienced much in the way of loss or hard times. So when I hear that I just smile and try to swallow the even bigger lump in my throat.

For me, the Thanksgiving holiday is hard without my Mom. Obviously. She was always the core of the celebration (the cook!) and also gave me much to be thankful for. We always watched the Macy's Day parade together. Every year without fail. So no surprise when I burst into tears when the parade commenced this year. Above all, I have to get past my own issues with sadness and teach my kids the traditions. I did quickly gather myself and forced a happy smile for my kids sake. I really do try very hard....I do not want to wallow in it in front of them and I think I do a decent job at hiding what is in my heart. This year was especially hard on me because my Grandma (my Mom's mom) is dying. Every day for seven days I have been told that it is her last day. She has had no food, no water, no medications (except for comfort) since last Saturday. Every day when the phone rings my heart stops...wondering if her time has come. She is amazing the entire staff at the hospital and all of us too. Her strength is just a miracle. And, since tradition is such a integral part of my family, Grandma laid in her hospital bed, unconcious, but the Macy's Day parade was certainly playing in the background for her to hear. The traditions started with her, went to my Mom, and will continue with me.

So, as Thanksgiving progressed, I kept making myself a list in my head of all the things that I am thankful for. And the list was getting huge. The sadness section of my heart did not overshadow the gratefulness section that also occupies it. They can live side by side! I had wanted to do a local race called the "Turkey Trot" but was unable to do it because we were out of town at Jerad's parents house. BUT... I slapped my Garmin running watch on my wrist, grabbed Jerad, and headed out in the rainy cold to accomplish my goal: 5 Miles. This was not an easy task for me, but I was not stopping until it was done. And that....THAT went right onto my list of things to be thankful for. That my 38 year old body can still travel 5 miles *running* up and down the hills of Junction City in the rain. Because I have learned over the last couple of years, that without health...there is nothing.

I keep reading all of the facebook posts this week regarding things people are thankful for. All good. I am obviously so thankful for my husband and my kids...and mainly that my kids are healthy. Ally is looking and acting amazing. Her strength is inspiring to me. More than anything I am thankful to God...for all that he has given me and nothing short of my faith is what has truly brought me through the past year. We try to honor him in all things that we do.

Here is my short list of things that I am thankful for, at this time, this year:

1) Emmett Broxson, MD My daughter's oncologist who has saved her life and done so in the most caring and respectful way possible. I can honestly say that I have NEVER second-guessed that man, which if you know me....I second guess everything. Not him.
2) My parents. One who has spent a significant part of the past year trying to raise money so that no other poor souls should suffer from this disease. And one who lives in my heart every day and gives me strength to get by. And both who have made me the person I am. I hope I do them right.
3) Childrens Medical Center and all of our caregivers....again, no complaints on anything short of maybe a cafeteria order. Haha. Seriously, my second home and home to many fine people who care about children.
4) Don't laugh at this one, but my personal trainer Kevin. He has been a bit of my "therapist" over the last few years. Exercise has been my stress relief. He inspires me to work hard and keep my health. Any questions on health, see above. If it weren't for him, I would be one fat lazy girl sitting on my couch.
5) Allys Army. So many friends giving so much of their time and resources to help my family. I am so grateful for my very best friends who will take my phone call or take my kids or take me out!! all on a moment's notice. And I am deeply grateful for my long lost friends, who all came out of the woodwork to support me when my daughter got sick. Wow I love that.
6) My blog! Although I started this to keep everyone informed, I now have a very real memoir of our life in 2009 and 2010. A treasure. And maybe, it has also served as therapy for me. I don't know. And 100's of people know my innermost thoughts on life too. I never have to explain things in person!
7) My home. My home is my castle and nothing brings me greater joy than my cozy house on a cold night. More than that, the fact that my family is sleeping under the same roof for most of the year after spending so so many days on a hospital couch. Little things like that, that I used to take for granted, but now I am so grateful for.
8) Special Wish. This year I am very grateful that my family got to travel to California for Ally's Special Wish. A wish that she so deserved. I loved being able to tell her that wishes do come true.

I know that I am forgetting something. I am also thankful for little things like Tim Hortons coffee, my camera, my nice foam pillow, my bird feeders, the NFL, and music!

A few more things that I got to do over the weekend that I am thankful for:

Putting my mom's hand painted ornaments on our "pencil" tree.


My college roommates (all six!) but two of them stopped by while travelling through this weekend. I made brunch!







And spending time with my new niece Maddie and family. I love laid back cute babies like her! And watching my kids love on her is priceless.


I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and also made a mental list of all the things we have to be thankful for this year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

First Swim Meet

We spent our ENTIRE weekend at Ally's first swim meet. Since it was at our home pool in Beavercreek, I had to work the event and then I also spent much of the day with Ally waiting, getting her ready, and eventually watching her swim her VERY FIRST RACE!

So here is my girl...who had chemo on Thursday..and gets in the pool and races on Saturday and Sunday. Jerad and I were so very proud of her. The first race she did was the 50 meter freestyle. She was in the second heat out of nine or ten. Of course, I get her all in position as she goes through the lines to get to the starting blocks. I had so many butterflies in my stomach. I was worried about her dive off the block....we had been working on this a lot because she is quite scared to do it. I finally had to let her go and just watch from the side of the pool. Jerad and the kids were up in the bleachers. My good friends Karen and Bonnie were there (with their Emma) and they provided me with much needed moral support. I also had my cousins Kevin and Julie to lean on.

But...SHE DID IT. SHE DID IT! She came right off the block, not perfect by any stretch, but progress from where we started a month and a half ago. She swam like crazy to the other end, did a flip turn (again, not perfect, but so proud she flipped) and then headed back to the start. Two lengths of the pool. She was in third place for a while (neck and neck with a couple girls) but then fell back towards the end. She finished in a 1:02. 2 months of work and hours of waiting all culminating in this one race. Of course, I was crying tears of joy and the proudness ran all over me. To consider where we have been....last year at this time she could spend days in her hospital bed. At times so weak she couldn't even walk and we would use a wheelchair.....and now she just sprung off the block. And the crazy thing is: She wasn't even last place. In fact, she had a good time and earned a spot on the free relay for the next day. And her time was second best of the four girls on her relay.




We went over and talked to her coaches. I think they were surprised because she hadn't gone this fast in practice. They didn't know she had it in her. I think his words to her were "you were flying!" No matter what, she is just starting and is not going to be winning any races but her coaches are so encouraging and so positive with her. Yet still always giving her new things to work on. They saw the tears in my eyes....I have to be like no other parent. Just wanting my girl to finish and do her best and get some rehab in the form of exercise in the process.



The whole rest of the day, I swear she walked around with a little smile on her face. Not only were we proud of her, but she was proud of herself. You could just tell that she LOVED it. The whole atmosphere of the meet and she especially liked when Emma "decorated" her for her race. Even that night, as we ate dinner, she was just so happy.


On Sunday she had another race. She did the 50 meter backstroke. I was scared she might possibly get disqualified....I had seen some really good swimmers getting DQd earlier in the day. But she did it again. Not quickly, but she didn't get DQd and again I was so proud she went the whole way without faltering. She finished the race...last in her heat, but not quite last overall. So proud that she did it correctly. Backstroke is a little harder. Someday we will try to race the other two, but not yet!





So now today, Ally isn't feeling so great. I don't think it has anything to do with the swimming, but I do think the chemo has caught up with her. They are trying to lower her counts. Today she had a nasty headache all day. I even tried giving her Tylenol with Codeine, but nothing was making it budge. She has one dose of steroids left too, and that generally makes her feel cruddy. She can't sleep when taking them. So I ended up picking her up from school this morning. I am hoping that it goes away and that we aren't moving towards being sick for our Thanksgiving holiday. Only time will tell.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today....

Today started off not so good, got better, then got worse. It started out with me being sick and feeling yuck with a very nasty cold (that keeps me up half the night). When my alarm went off at 6:27 my kind husband told me just to sleep....he would take care of it. Quickly I had visions in my head of what the kids would wear to school if he were in charge?!?, but then a wave of sickness came over me and I agreed to the extra sleep as my head fell back on the pillow. Thanks Jerad. He did okay with the clothes too.

I finally woke at 8:30 with little princess Carly tapping my arm and telling me she couldn't find her baby Bobo that was lost somewhere in her bed. Sure honey, let me just blow my nose and throw up some phlegm and I will be right there.

And today was chemo day for Ally, which meant I had to leave at 10 to go get her at school, and my babysitter was a little off on the time (but we still love you!) so I panicked for a few minutes and then dumped Carly at my sisters. (Thanks Mel) The thing about chemo...you can't call in sick...you have to go...and we did. I hid in the little infusion room all day, knowing full well I had to stay away from the immune compromised kids including my own! I wouldn't touch her or even hold her hand while she got poked. She held onto my elbow to be safe.

And this is where the day got better. Ally got a great report, again, from Dr B. Her ANC is still a bit high (2500) so they are adjusting her meds and she will be getting a little more chemo. They adjusted them last week too, and I do think they are on the way down. It is such a sigh of relief every month when we get those blood results and know that our girl is safe. Dr B was impressed with how well she is walking again, after months and months of foot pain and stiff joints caused by her Vincristin. I attribute most of the progress that she has made to her swim team and he thinks it is the best thing for her. She is building muscle with the buoyancy of the water helping her. We talked about all kids going into maintenance should join a swim team to help with their joints and walking!

And sweet Ally. I watched her getting the needle poked into her chest and she hardly even flinches. The nurse brings her six pills and a syringe full of medicine to "premedicate" her before her real medicine. She says thanks and quietly takes care of all of it on her own. She spent six hours hooked up to the IV pole, getting a BP every 15 minutes, but finds quiet things to do all while her Mom sits in the corner not feeling so hot. And then I see her counting on her fingers and I ask her what she is doing. And she tells me that she only has to do this 10 more times. We pray that is true. Next month, 12/17, she has another spinal tap.

But then the day turned bad again, as I was sitting next to Ally I got a message that one of our family friends is nearing the end of this life. I sat in that little room and prayed. I prayed and prayed for almost an hour and then I heard that he had passed away. And I know his entire family and I know the pain they must be feeling and I am very sad. Frank will be missed by so many.

As if that is not enough, within an hour, I hear that my Grandma is nearing the end of her life. My sweet Grandma Josie...my Mom's mom. She has been battling and battling, but is now in "comfort care" and they are anticipating she won't make it. I am so torn...debating hopping into the car and going to PA to see her, but also wanting to remember her as she was when I last visited in August. She is not awake and I opted to stay here. She has lived a long and good life, but it doesn't make the pain or loss any less. I am sure she would tell me that she wants to go....she wants to go see her daughter and my Mom. There are lots of times I would like to go too. Wish I could just "visit" Heaven once in a while. I can picture it now....Mom must be busy up there getting everything ready for Frank and Grandma.

Tonight I pray for them all.


"Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy." ~Author Unknown

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Legoland

There is one part of our Special Wish trip that I failed to mention yet. Legoland. I would be remiss if I didn't put our pictures out here since Evan considers it the second best day of his life (first being the day he was born, his words not mine). Evan LOVES legos. I don't even know if I can adequately describe how much he loves them....I guess you would just have to see him at work. If he has a lego project, it is hard to pull him away from it. He pretty much doesn't hear a word I say until it is done. I can totally see why he loves them (I do too!) and I think they are wonderful for his mind and his creativity. I know people will think I am crazy for writing this, but he absolutely got the "Mills" builder mind. He can look at houses in our neighborhood and pick out weird architectural details that noone else would even notice. He can also look at a house from the front and pretty much tell you which rooms are which..so we always joke that Evan will be a builder or an architect. Now he is just getting his practice in.

Here we are going into the park. It is down by San Diego (Carlsbad), so we had to drive about an hour from our hotel to get there.
EVERYTHING in the park is made of Legos. It was truly amazing. They had parts that mimicked lots of US cities...NY, LA, Las Vegas, San Fran, DC
Evan and Ally got to drive real Lego cars around a made up track. They had to abide by rules on their own (stoplights, stop signs, staying on the right, etc) Ally is ready for her license. She has practiced a lot up at her Pa's house on his golf cart.

Scaredy cat Carly (she was scared the whole trip) really loved driving the "little" Lego cars.
The Capitol Building was amazing.
Lots of Star Wars stuff
The rides were fun for Evan and Ally. They had three rollar coasters that were a bit smaller, but they both enjoyed them.
On this ride, you had to pull yourself all the way to the top of the pole and then if you let go your car would drop quickly.
Bob the Builder.
This was a huge elephant made out of legos, but my picture is not so great.
It was "Brick or Treat" there!
Evan (like Clark) also loves maps.
And Carly had to do something "princessy" so she got a unicorn painted on her cheek!

And now......we can add one more place that "Allys Army" has been. We will probably never get back there, but I did hear they are building one about an hour from my Dad's condo in Florida. So we WILL be back.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Allys Army Fundraiser

My sister in law's friend (also named Janelle) has made these Ally's Army candles for a fundraiser for LLS. She is selling them for $20 each and donating $10 for each one. They are Pumpkin Souffle and 8 oz. If you are interested (Chrismas presents???) you can contact my sister Amanda Stamey [amandaestamey@yahoo.com].


I also thought I would share a family picture that we took a few weeks back. It turned out really nice. Thanks to my friend Nicki for coming up to Fox Hill and taking the shots! I love my beautiful family...we have come a long way together. And how cute is Ally with that short hair and A SCARF?!? Man she is growing up on me.

Which leads me to my Dad....lots of you have been asking, and no he is still not doing any better. It seems that his heart is still out of rhythm and does not seem to be trending the right way at this moment. He still feels lousy and (I Believe) he is still trying to take it easy and limit his activity. I would ask for everyone to keep praying that this heart situation turns around and turns around quickly! I am sure he is sick of feeling sick.

On the contrary, Ally seems to be doing great. I sort of keep waiting for the usual Fall illnesses to hit our family, but we have been fortunate. They increased her at home chemo (again) and we are due back into the hospital on Tuesday. I was especially proud of her after she achieved a wonderful report card and we had a great conference with her teacher too. She works really really hard and quite honestly...she missed A LOT last year. Third grade is not easy. Things the other kids just know, she really didn't know, but has worked hard to catch up. I see her improving and I see her excelling. She continues to make me a proud Momma.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Clemson Weekend

I have been a slacker blogger lately. So busy. Good busy though. And now this post is primarily going to be about Jerad and I....why? Because I want to remember everything and someday I will make a book of all of this! (and I am sure my loyal blog reader Ms Jenny Garrity would also like to look at my pics!) We just got back hours ago from a weekend in Clemson SC. Our friends moved down there over the summer and we missed them so much that we drove 8 hours to go see them. We had a rare weekend without kids as Grandma and Grandpa had a fun time staying with the kids. (THANK YOU) Ally even got to go see Selena Gomez (the subject of her special wish) in concert up in Columbus.

We had a fun drive through the beautiful Smoky Mountains and even encountered some snowflakes when we were high enough in the mountains. We got to see Brad coach his first game as Clemson Head Coach, which made me very happy. They did great and had a big win. The next day we got to go to a Clemson football game, along with about 80,000 other people. Football is big time down there and we got to do a little tailgating and enjoyed spending time in the quaint small town that is Clemson. More than anything, we just laughed all weekend long and enjoyed catching up...our friends the Boohers also drove down with us. A very nice weekend that will long be remembered in my memory banks.
The drive was amazing...I have vowed to myself to take the kids to the mountains in TN sometime soon.






You might see the snow swirling around us in this picture....

Catching up before the game....
The girls going in to Littlejohn for the first game..


He will kill me for this, but loved seeing his picture on the big screen. So proud! He'll get over it.....I have to post.
And doing the Alma Mater after the big win.
The football game was an amazing sight. 80000 people in one big football stadium. The players run down the hill into the game. And they release all the balloons into the sky. Right after 4 jets sped overhead.
We had so much fun cheering for the Tigers!
Overall...we love our orange.
And getting our Ally's Army shirt pictures everywhere we can!




And now we can say that we love Clemson too....

Thanks Brownells for your awesome southern hospitality and friendship. It was a weekend I will never forget!