Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Girls Update

I thought I'd let you know some of the things the girls are doing now :)

Grace is loving school. She got her 3rd quarter report card a little bit ago- she has moved beyond kindergarten mastery on two subjects and has mastered all the others. Her reading has improved leaps and bounds, although she still resists sounds words out in favor of just guessing (which might get on Mommy's nerves sometimes, but she tries to stay patient). She makes letters and cards for people everyday. She's very creative. She's loving her ballet class, and we might start her full time in the fall- we'll have to see what's going on.

Liliana is getting closer to 4 every day, and you can tell by her attitude. My little ray of sunshine has become a storm cloud ready to burst at any point. Anything that doesn't go her way just sets her off. Still, when she's in a good mood, she is so fun to be with. She loves to talk now and explains everything to anyone who will listen. She is very physically coordinated- she started riding Grace's bike with no assistance, does very well in her tumbling class, and preforms little tricks around the house all the time. She is also becoming more nurturing to her baby dolls and little sister, which is nice to see.

Moira is no longer a baby. She runs everywhere with her little belly bumping out in front of her. She is amazing at mimicking! She can eat cereal and milk with a spoon, play simple games, and signs words quite well now. She loves to do whatever her sisters are doing- if she sees them picking flowers, she does too; if she sees them throwing a toy at the wall, she throws one too. I can even ask her to do simple tasks now like throwing away diapers in the trash. She loves to give kisses, espeically when someone makes a big deal about it. She also loves to hit right now, too, which is not as fun. Although I understand her need to defend herself against her sisters, I can't let her do it. Not that Liliana would let me- she is quite indignant about Moira being punished!

Overall they are a joy to be with and I am so blessed to their mother.

Getting the Blood Back

Moira had her 15 month appointment yesterday, including 3 vaccinations and a blood draw. The shots were over quickly but the blood draw was complicated. They couldn't get a vein in the first arm that they tried- I felt so bad for Moira as they poked the needle around under in her skin- didn't they realize that this was a one year old- not an adult?! Anyways, they finally got a vein in the other arm and got the job done. What I didn't expect was Grace's reaction. She stood there crying next to Moira, so sad for her sister! As we walked out to the van I was trying to explain how they would use the blood to test for things that could hurt Moira. Then Grace asked about what she was REALLY concerned about, "But how are they going to put Moira's blood back in?" I explained that they wouldn't, and that set her crying again, saying, "No! They have to give her back her blood!" I further explained that her body would make more blood, and eventually she understood, but it was definitely cute to see her so concerned about her sister.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fighting the Battle Again

My blogging has been sparse for the past couple of weeks. Sadly there is a reason behind that. Our family was turned upside down recently by the news that my mom's breast cancer is back after 9 years. The worry was always there, somewhere in the back of our minds, but we hoped that it would never materialize. It's hard to blog about normal things when all you can think about is the major event that is crowding your mind.

I delayed writing about it until now so that when I did write we would have most of the facts and an idea of what we were doing. So here is a summary of what is going on.

Mom has been in pain since December 2009. She came out to spend Christmas with us but ended up having to go home because she was in so much pain. After a few painful weeks the doctors figured out that the port on her Lap-Band had dropped out of place and was adhered to her stomach. They did the surgery to repair it and we looked forward to her feeling better.

But she didn't feel better. She continued to have pain that affected her work. She decided to get the Lap-Band removed since it was causing so much trouble. While they were taking it out they looked around a little but didn't see anything amiss.

Still, things didn't get better. She was able to work through the pain sometimes, but her appetite diminished and the pain kept her from sleeping. Eventually her breathing became labored. She had multiple ER visits, CT scans, an MRI, a bone scan, a mammogram, and blood work during this time. Nothing was found until the last CT showed some fluid in the lungs. She was referred to a pulmanologist and after some dancing with insurance, she was able to get a procedure that would extract the fluid from her lungs. When tested we found out that the fluid had breast cancer cells in it.

Last week Mom had a PET scan and then was admitted to the hospital for oxygen since the fluid had built back up. They immediately scheduled her for surgery in order to drain the fluid and preform a procedure that would prevent the build up of fluid again. Before the surgery the PET scan results came back. It showed cancer in the lymph nodes around her lungs, but no masses. We were excited. I mean, if we were going to deal with bad news, this wasn't the worst we could have, right? We could beat this!

But after the surgery the news came back that the cancer had spread throughout the lungs. They were tiny tumors- less than 2mm- but they were all over and in the lungs. That's how they had not been seen on the scans- they were too small. This news finalized a diagnosis of Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, since it had spread to another organ other than the breast. It was quite the roller coaster that day- first thinking that the cancer was still outside the lungs and then finding out that it was actually metastasized extensively.

Mom is still in the hospital now, and probably will be for the next few days at least. She started running a fever tonight, so she is being moved to a floor with more monitoring. Angela, Curtis, Stephen, and Brandon are trading off being with her, as well as many sisters from her ward who have sat with her for hours, like her own personal guardian angels. I am so grateful that she is surrounded by so many loving people when I cannot be there to care for her myself.

The good news is that there are treatments available. Mom's oncologist has already started her on hormone therapy which has shone a lot of success with breast cancer, AND it can be started before she recovers from surgery. Her doctor is very optimistic, and says that there's a chance Mom won't have to do chemotherapy. She hasn't even given us a "she has this long to live" number, which I see as a really good sign. So we have hope again. And we can fight this- and we will fight this- as long and as hard as it is necessary.

I plan to go out with the girls for a good part of the summer to help her out. The length of time depends on whether she needs the chemo or not. I'm excited to spend that time with her and to serve her the way that she has served me all my life. It's a small part of the repayment that I owe her and I'm happy to do it.

I would appreciate any and all prayers, happy thoughts, love, and good will, that you could spare for my mom. She's the strongest woman I know, but we all need all the help we can get in this life. I know that there is power in prayer- that our loving Heavenly Father is listening to us, and that He will send on our strength to her. Thank you to you all for your outpouring of love already. I have felt it in the last few days when I needed it most, and it means the world to me. Again, thank you all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sick House

So I guess Moira's puking on Saturday was more than just drinking too much fruit punch and taking in too much sun. Liliana emptied her stomach tonight, so I'm concluding that it's a bug. Could be from that kid that lost his cookies outside of tumbling class on Friday...

The saddest thing was that Liliana came down whimpering without her pants on, and so I assumed that she had had an accident (would have been the second one today). I admit I was exasperated and took her upstairs to have her clean it up. At the top of the stairs I found one of her little jackets with vomit on it (I was totally impressed that it was on a jacket and not the carpet!). Then she tried to clean it up with a towel! I felt so guilty- I told her that I would clean it up - and that she should go rest. She got sick two more times and then fell asleep in her bed- almost instantly. I hope that her stomach is empty and she can sleep this one off like Moira did Saturday night.

So if the pattern holds, Grace will get sick in 2 days, then Kaylon 2 days after that. That has me getting sick Sunday while I'm teaching about the Holy Ghost in Primary. Yipee.

The Downside of Learning How to Read and Write

Your kids can leave mean notes on chalkboards after they get reprimanded for being too rough with their little sister.
Luckily, Moira can't read.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flashback Sunday

I just remembered some pictures we took when we were at Six Flags two years ago- thought it was a cute comparison.

Six Flags

We went to Six Flags yesterday with Pop and had a great time. The weather was perfect- sunny and 75 degrees. The lines were short and the girls got to ride everything they wanted at least once. We figured out that Grace doesn't like roller coasters as much as she once thought, but still loves the other rides. We also figured out that Liliana is as much an adrenaline junkie as her mom (and I can't wait for her to hit 48 inches so she can go on the roller coasters with me). The one downside was Moira getting sick in the late afternoon. We're still not sure what caused it, but it was sad to see her like that. Luckily I've learned my lesson and had brought changes of clothes for everyone. She's doing better today- has kept down her breakfast- but she's gonna stay home from church with Daddy to make sure she doesn't spread anything.

Here are some pictures of our fun day.

Liliana had to warm up to the costumed characters... she was not at this point.

Grace didn't have a problem though!

Penguin's Blizzard ride- the older 2 are there with Pop and Daddy, but they're too short to see. They did this one twice.

Grace didn't like the swings at first, but finally got comfortable. Liliana was dancing in her seat as soon as it started.

Sucking down lots of liquids so she could vomit it up later.

This is Grace's favorite ride- a mini free fall.

The girls loved going on the kiddie rides together. It was really cute!

Friday, May 14, 2010


"Mom!!! There's ice falling from the sky!!!"

Luckily, it didn't hurt our garden.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

3 or 13?

Liliana got very angry with me today because I didn't let her sit in Grace's booster seat on the way to school. She had a major tantrum in the car, tried to refuse coming out of the car, and then collapsed on the floor when we got inside. Then as a final act of defiance, she stripped down to nothing and sobbed on the steps in the fetal position.

Is is wrong that I wanted to laugh? (Don't worry, I didn't, but I wanted to.) I know we keep saying it, but we're really in for it in about 10 years...

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Jedi

Grace got herself, I mean Kaylon, two light sabers for his birthday. Everyone was having fun playing Star Wars, but we were very surprised at who was enjoying it the most.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Best Friends

Liliana got made at Grace last week. The biggest insult she could come up with at the time was:

"Grace, you not my best friend. Mommy is my best friend!"

Should I be touched or sad for Grace?

The High Life

Last week Kaylon got tickets to go to the Virginia Gold Cup horse races. So Saturday we all got dressed up in our finest and headed out to the country. Our tickets included passes into the sponsor's area, which gave us access to a large tent, tables, chairs, and free gourmet food. This was all especially important after all the walking in 3 inch wedge heals! There was a big TV in our tent that gave us a great look of the races, plus a great view right in front of the tent. It was a lot of fun to see all the big hats, bright colors, and even costumes (we saw batman in our wanderings). It was even better to spend some quality time as a family after a couple crazy months.

Pictures taken from Kaylon's new girlfriend... I mean phone. ;)

(Liliana didn't want her picture taken.)