Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Eve {in pictures}

{We checked on this guy first thing. He needs a haircut!}

{We listened to this guy sing "Frosty the Snowman". Alot.}

{We ate our favorite breakfast.}

{Jack helped Mommy make Santa some yummy cookies.}

{The boys were surprisingly into the classic Christmas movies.}

{There was wrapping.}

{And napping.}

{Brayden supervised (best done in containment) while Mommy wrapped. Notice the big red suitcase that is always packed and ready for hospital trips.}

{Jack decorated his Snowman cookie while Elfie watched. But wouldn't eat it!}

{We made our first Gingerbread house.}

{Daddy and B had some music time.}

{We headed out for our annual pajama-and-hot-chocolate viewing of Christmas lights.}

{After we got back, the boys opened their special ornaments to represent 2010.}

{Brayden was more into the wrapping!}

{A Spiderman ornament to document Jackson's deep love for all things Spidey and a Taz ornament to remember how destructive Brayden is!}

{The boys also opened a Little People nativity set, which they love to play SuperHeroes with. At least they are interested in it!}

{We set out cookies for Santa...}{The blur of the boys is so telling of how anxious they were for some cookies!}

{And Jackson promptly stole one.}

{But at least he shared with his baby brother.}

{Jack wanted to make Santa a picture.}

{Daddy read The Night Before Christmas then we all tucked into bed and waited for Santa!}

Our day also included the usual stuff...dirty dishes, laundry and fussy kiddos...but who wants a picture of that? ;)


Thursday, December 30, 2010

I love my babies.

I will eventually post a detailed update (short version: final round of chemo has been delayed twice but we had a GREAT Christmas at home), but I wanted to post this before I forgot.

I have a song that I sing to the that I made up one night while holding Jackson when he was tiny. Originally it was solely for Jackson, but then Brayden came along and I just altered the words ;)

It's not a great song by any means, but it always calmed Jackson and now Brayden, so it's special to us.

I love my babies, my babies, my babies
They're so handsome and sweet
From their heads to their feet
They're the sweetest around
The best boys in town
I love them so much
They're the best in the bunch
I love my babies, my babies, my babies

I'm sure I will have recording artists lining up to work with me after this gets out! Haha.

Jackson sings it with me now and has ever since he could say the words. But the past few nights he has changed the words a little...

I love my mommy, my mommy, my mommy

That's as far as he gets and that's just fine.

I'm in tears by then anyway.

{Christmas morning, seeing what Santa left outside.}


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cowboys, Santa and Links

We have really been enjoying our time at home! Lots of playing, crafting and movie watching.

We were admitted for Round 14 on Friday the 3rd and all went well. Jackson was sick a few times, but he handled it like a champ and we were released Monday the 6th.

Right before we left on Monday, we got to meet some of the Dallas Cowboys! Of course, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were there too...a certain little boy has been talkin about them ever since ;)

While we were in for Round 14 we also got to meet Santa! Jackson loved him this year and even spent some time trying to figure out if his beard is real or not. Brayden was not really feeling Santa. He was pretty angry at the whole situation until he got back to Momma!

{Pretty sure Brayden had no clue Santa was behind us!}

{Thank goodness Santa didn't mind!}

{Do you think drums and a truck will fit in your sleigh?}

{Maybe next year!}

Of course Jack told Santa what he wanted for Christmas...a truck (powerwheels) and drums. We shall see what Santa comes up with!

This is the first year that Jackson really has started to grasp Christmas and it is so much fun! Last year he was excited, but I don't think he really knew why. He loves talking about Santa (and has stayed consistent on what he wants Santa to bring on his sleigh!), looking at Christmas lights is our favorite activity right now (especially since we are still locked's a perfect reason to get out of the house!), our Elf has provided lots of laughs and good behavior, we watch at least one Christmas movie a day, and last but not least, we are working on explaining the real reason of Christmas. We've read a few books about baby Jesus and the first Christmas and he is beginning to put some pieces together.

I just LOVE the holiday season and this year I feel especially blessed. All that we have gone through this year really exemplifies how blessed we are to have our family of four together and happy. I wouldn't trade my (three) boys for the world.

Our plan right now is to go in for a count check Monday the 20th and then head back to the hospital on the 24th to try and be admitted for Jackson's FINAL round of chemo! Please pray that we are able to do just that...we are ready ready ready to be done!

Here are a few links:

Jackson's Facebook page

Jackson was featured on Layla Grace today as a part of their 12 Days of Christmas!

So many people have been amazingly kind to so many ways, so THANK YOU! We appreciate your kindness more than you will ever, ever know.

As always, we are beyond thankful for all of your prayers! Please keep them coming.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A very long update.

We got released from the hospital the Monday before Thanksgiving. Jack's counts were still really low, but were headed up. We spend the next few days relaxing and trying to get settled after our impromptu week-long stay at the hospital.

On Thanksgiving we lounged around and watched movies. Ryan got all of the Christmas stuff down and brought in the Christmas tree. A very sweet family brought over a TON of food so we had a nice Thanksgiving meal. While we were sad to not be with our families, the point to all of this is to get Jack better so we can have MANY more Thanksgivings.

After eating, we bundled up the boys and drove over to Prairie Lights. A drive-through Christmas light experience is right up our alley. The boys LOVED it and we will continue going every year until they tell us to stop.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. I snuck away for a couple of hours to do a little Black Friday shopping with a bestie and Jack "helped" me decorate the house for Christmas. Mainly he would decide he did not agree with where I placed something and he would pick it up and say "I'm gonna find a place to put this Mommy". Okay! I'm trying to indulge his creativeness and leaving things where he put them.

Sunday night we decided to head to the drive in movies to see Tangled. I was a little worried because a friend told me that it was a princess movie with lots of singing, but I knew it had knights (a Jackson fav) and the boys LOVE movies so off we went.

It was awesome...very cute and funny! Both of the boys just loved it and we all laughed the whole way through! It was a great family night. So thankful for fun activities that you can do in the car. Yesterday Jack asked me if he could "eat food with Daddy and watch Tangled in the car again"! So sweet...he definitely enjoyed himself!

Monday we had to head to Arlington for an eye appointment for Jack. His first appointment in 6 months that is NOT cancer related. He had eye surgery at 8 months so this was just the yearly check up. Everything looked great and he is seeing 20/20!

When we got home we changed the boys and set up our camera outside to take some family photos. Right before naptime. With 2 toddlers. It was a little crazy and Ryan's head was cut off in some of the pictures and Jack was holding a leaf in front of his face in others, but we got some good ones! Those boys are just my world (all three of them) and I love getting pictures of our family of four.

Tuesday was spent getting ready for our next trip to the hospital. We were due to check in yesterday for Round 14 of chemo. So on Tuesday I washed, packed, organized, cleaned, etc. Fun stuff! On Wednesday morning we were loaded and ready to for our 3 night, 4 day stay at Club Chemo (as the doctors say "Kind of like Club Med, but not").

We made it to the hospital and headed to our radiation follow up first. Dr. Munoz said his leg looked a little swollen and felt a little hard but that it should all go away within the next few weeks. He was really happy with how his leg looked overall.

After that appointment was over, we headed upstairs to clinic. We got called back pretty quick and did the normal routine. Jack is gaining weight and getting taller!! He is a little over 36lbs and is 39.5 inches tall! He grew a lot this summer (take that cancer!).

After height and weight, it was time for Jack to have his port accessed. It's still really hard for him...ever since surgery he just has such a hard time with it. This time was actually not as bad as some of the recent visits. We got it done with only me holding him down and Ryan trying to distract him. Sometimes we both have to hold him down.

Once he was accessed, Nurse Ginni got his blood and Jack actually got to carry it to the lab! It was pretty cool, but once we got in there he was pretty scared and asked to "get outta this room!!" I think the big machines reminded him of the radiation room.

Then we waited for his counts to come back. Jack's new friend Kadence had given him a watergun in the playroom so Ryan showed him how it works (in the sink only!).

So remember that when we left the hospital right before Thanksgiving his counts were up from 0 but still not good? They were 120 then, and 9 days later...they were only 500. A minimum of 700 is required for this type of chemo.


We are really ready to be done with chemo (who wouldn't be?) and while it's just a date, I would really like to start 2011 without chemo in our plans.

But God has a BETTER plan than me. And His timing is perfect.

So we headed home with an appointment for Friday to try again.

Thankfully the boys were both tired once we got home, so we were able to get them down for a good nap. After they woke up, we played outside for a bit then I loaded them up for a apple juice slushie from Sonic and to look at Christmas lights...Momma needed a little cheering up :)

Then was a GOOD day. It started with a quick trip to Target with Brayden to get milk while the big boys slept in. Of course I left with more than milk (one day Target, one day I will leave your awesome store with only what I came in for) and then we headed home for lunch and naptime.

And then my phone rang.

It was a very sweet lady explaining that someone had nominated us for a Christmas Wish through our local Christian radio station. The morning host read the letter that my awesome friend Heather sent and of course I was in TEARS. I haven't cried in forever because I'm kind of afraid that I won't be able to stop if I start.

I was right. I couldn't stop. Three hours later and I'm still sniffling and shaking.

KLTY is so very generous and they are blessing us in amazing ways and they are enabling us to bless others (SO EXCITING!). We are beyond thankful!!! Words really do not do justice to the gratitude we feel.

I said thank you over and over while we were on the phone (in between sniffling) and the lady talking to us said that while they would love to take credit for everything, thanks were really owed to the people that donate to the Christmas Wish program. She said that it's God's way of showing us that we are not alone on this journey. I love that!

Although the gifts are AMAZING and I am so incredibly grateful...the best part of the whole experience was this...

After it was all over, I was told to expect a call from a guy named Jack to work out the details.

And then my phone rang.

It turns out that Jack also had cancer at age 3 (he is 23 now). He underwent 26 rounds of chemo and had several radiation treatments. I was crying as he described how he played sports and is getting married in a few months.

You have no idea how hearing that calmed my heart.

Lately, I have been especially worried about Jackson's future. I KNOW that he will beat cancer. I believe that. I have faith that God will bring him through this, whole and healed. But the truth of the matter is that the drugs and procedures that ensure that he will be a cancer survivor can cause other issues.

So it was so moving to cross paths with this grown-up Jack. An instant connection. Only people who have been through it can REALLY understand, and his story is the most similar in terms of age and treatment that we have come across.

I know I will have so many questions for Jack and his parents. I want to hear his story, every detail.

Can we talk about how amazing God is for a minute?

Childhood cancer is rare.
Childhood cancer that requires radiation is even more rare.
Both named Jack.
Both cancer patients at the age of 3.

The way that God orchestrated this connection...through Heather, through his job at that Ryan and I could feel hope for our Jackson's beyond incredible.

We are so blessed. Cancer and all.

Just a quick update on what the boys are doing lately...

Jack is teeteeing in the potty! And staying dry overnight! Wooooohoooo!

Lately, Jack has been asking about God. It started with this question "Mommy, did Bob the Builder make us?" and that has led to more conversations. Precious, precious conversations. I love his three year old mind. We don't even watch Bob the Builder!

Brayden is such a mess...literally! He can wreck a room in seconds!

He is starting to talk..."no" "Melmo" (Elmo) "Bubba" "go-go" (there you go) and many more! Of course he has mastered Momma and Dada :)

We head back to the hospital tomorrow morning bright and early to try and be admitted again. Please pray that Jack's counts will be high enough to get this show on the road!

{Thanksgiving morning}

{Mean reindeer}

{Sweet reindeer}

{I have no clue}

{Best boys ever}

{Poor thing}

{Munching with Daddy at the movies}

{Chaos during family pics}

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17



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