Thursday, December 9, 2010

December starts with a BANG


Traditionally we have our "Christmas Kick-off Day" the day right after Thanksgiving. This year we were in Utah so we had to come up with a different day. So, we decided to do it on the 1st Saturday in December. Friday night was spent putting up the Christmas tree (it's fake so David and I had to put all the branches in), stringing the lights and making the cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning. David ran out and got us some dinner from a restaurant. We ate, put the kids to bed and started in on all the prep work for the next morning. Then around 10 we headed to bed.

At 3:10am I woke up with the worst stomach pain EVER!! Oh it was awful. It was followed by numerous bouts of vomiting and diarrhea and painful stomach cramps. We were up for an hour, my sweet husband gave me a Priesthood Blessing and then sat up with me. At 4:15ish I was finally able to go back to sleep. Shortly thereafter David was woken up by our boy Nephi and they went out and slept on the couch. Nephi was so excited about the Christmas tree. David said when he flipped the switch and turned the lights on, Nephi's eyes grew really big and he was so happy and excited! Cool!! I stayed in bed all of Saturday morning still having episodes of vomiting and diarrhea and trying, when the pain would let up, to get some sleep. David, the great father that he is, cooked the cinnamon rolls according to my instructions and made the frosting - both of which he had never done before. I was grateful and the kids said they turned out wonderfully. They then set up all the Christmas decorations and, after waiting as long as they could for me to join them, went ahead without me and decorated the Christmas tree. I was still miserable in bed.

Occasionally I will get sick and be in bed for a while, but it usually only for a few hours and then it passes. This time it wasn't getting any better and in fact seemed to be getting worse. Around 2:15pm I had a deep impression that I should go to the ER. I immediately called for David and told him he needed to get me an ambulance because there was no way I could make it out to the car - I was so weak. He called 911 and then went out to warn the kids that the ambulance was coming to take me to the doctor, but that I would be okay and there was no reason for them to worry. The paramedics came and whisked me away - off to Kaiser we went. David loaded the kids in the car and went to pick up Eve, his mom that lives nearby, and then dropped them all off at home and hurried over to the hospital. My parents were also in route.

When I got there and they hooked me up to the monitors the nurses started becoming concerned. Apparently my heart rate was down to 32 beats per minute - not a good thing. My heart was also in a weird rhythm they referred to as By-jimineys. That means instead of a regular beat it was going really fast and then would stop or slow down in an erratic fashion. In fact, they told us after ward that they had a crash cart right outside the room for me. In came 3 nurses and 1 doctor and they administered Atropine (I think that's what they called it) to jump start my heart. It worked and I started feeling much better. They ran multiple EKGs and did some X-Rays. We realized how serious it was when they started to ask in a round about sort of way if I had a DNR.

They then decided it best for me to remain in the hospital so I was admitted. Over the course of the next few days they gave me various different drugs and I continued to improve. By Monday I felt like a whole different person and they let me come home on Tuesday. I was so excited to see my kids and they sure seem happy and relieved to see me. Huge thanks go out to my sister, Jenn, for coming to sit with me most of the day on Monday so I didn't have to be alone. Also to my parents for hanging out with me until I was admitted and then my mom coming to the hospital on Sunday and staying with me for a long time. I am so grateful to my wonderful husband. This was probably the worst time for this to happen as he is in the middle of studying for finals - but he has been so great and has ALWAYS put me first and has been doing great with the kids. Thanks to Eve for spending the weekend at my house so that David could come and go as he needed and could visit me whenever he could. And finally a huge thanks to all of you for your prayers and happy thoughts. I couldn't make it through this without you.

So now I am home and am still recovering. I have to make sure to sit down and rest regularly. My body is slowly gaining strength - very slowly. I am so grateful that we called the ambulance when we did - they suggested that if we would have waited things could be much worse. I am sure that I was inspired to call for the ambulance and thank my Heavenly Father for his healing power. I know that my time is limited, or might be by this disease that I have, but I am not going down without a fight and it seems as though God is on my side in this fight - so I think I am here for a long time to come.

I came home to a very wonderfully decorated house and I am so excited to celebrate this Christmas season. I am thankful for my Savior and I love celebrating his birth. This is my favorite time of year! I hope that you all have a joyous holiday season. Merry Christmas!!!

End of November

The week before Thanksgiving I took Faith and Hyrum to see the new Harry Potter movie - the midnight premiere of course!! We went with my parents and met up with my brother, Jarrod and 3 of his boys. It was a blast. Before we went in I was waiting in the car because it was so cold and my parents were waiting in line with the kids. After a few minutes of waiting in the freezing cold, my mom took the kids up to the lobby and asked if we could wait inside due to the fact that I had cancer and the cold is hard for me. They were very nice and said that we could. When they came back to the car to get me, Hyrum said, "Man! Cancer Rocks!!" with as much enthusiasm as a child could muster. I turned to him and said - "Hyrum! It doesn't rock, but there are occasional perks." He immediately agreed with me. It was hilarious!!

The day before Thanksgiving, we loaded a rental car (a beautiful black Suburban) with tons of stuff and headed East for Alpine, Utah. We only had 4 stops, but with crazy traffic it took us 15 hours to get there. We arrived on Thanksgiving morning at 1:30am. We had a fantastic visit with David's family and then on Saturday with my family. The only thing we didn't do - and now I'm kicking myself - is that we didn't get any group pictures! UGH!!! Oh well. We did get this great family picture on Friday afternoon when we took the kids into Salt Lake City and walked around Temple Square.



On Sunday after church the kids and David got all dressed in David's Mom's extra snow clothes and went outside and played in the snow. They thought it was so fun and some of them were out there for hours.

We headed home on Monday morning and it took us only 2 stops and 11 hours later we were home! We had a great vacation and I just want to make sure all who helped us get there and/or planned things so that we could see everyone know how much I really appreciate all you did! It was a great trip and we couldn't have done it without The Dream Foundation, our Mission Family and other friends and family. Thanks for making our family's Thanksgiving Day the best it could have been!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not much happening

We have had a pretty uneventful month! Which is wonderful. As I look back over the calendar though, I think more happened than I realized!

I had 2 doctor appointments. One with my oncologist and one with my radiology oncologist. Both had similar outcomes. The scans that I had at the end of October and beginning of September show that my cancer is stable. Good news, huh? The bad part? There is nothing they can do right now. I guess that it is not so bad. I really don't want to have chemotherapy - it causes such lousy side effects and I just don't like spending my time there. So, we just wait and pray for the best. We exercise the two things I am not so good at lately: patience and faith/trust in God.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am by far NOT the most patient person you will ever meet. I also like to do things on my own. This is my trial. So I push forward and practice patience with the Lord and this stupid cancer while learning better to trust God and have faith and confidence in Him. What a struggle this is becoming for me. You would think that as this experience goes on, I would get better, but I feel that I am falling behind. It is easy to get complacent. It is easy to forget on a daily basis to turn to the Lord. Instead I find myself only looking to Him when I need some relief from the pain or aches. I need to break this habit NOW!! It is vital to my eternal progression. It doesn't matter in the long run what my kids get this Christmas if I am not there in the Eternities with them. I have to keep reminding myself of this. It is so important!

As for everything else, things are going well. The kids are now on Thanksgiving break and loving it. We are planning on leaving for Utah on Wednesday, early in the morning, and driving across Nevada to visit David's family and some of mine as well. The kids are counting down the days until we leave. They are so excited to see their Grandparents and Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. I hope the drive won't be too difficult for us all. We did all survive the trip to Disneyland in March, so hopefully that is a good indicator that this will go well.

This Christmas will be a busy one. We have 3 concerts in 2 nights the week before Christmas - not quite sure how we are gonna pull that one off. We also have many school festivities and reports due. David and I have finals and then some much need time off! So things are filling up on our calendars but in a good way and we are excited to celebrate this joyous time of year. I love Christmas and have already started playing some Christmas music here and there.

We hope that everyone enjoys their holidays beginning with a Happy Thanksgiving!! I know that I have TONS to be grateful for!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Very Quick Health Update

Just wanted to let everyone know that we discovered today that I can't take the new experimental drug. It would cause problems with my pain medicine and there is no other pain medication that they can give me. We are still optimistic and I am counting on your prayers, my body fighting and blessings from heaven to get us through this. I have confidence in the Lord that if it is his will, my life will be preserved. Please continue to pray that I might have a full recovery. Remember that He knows what is best for me, my husband, my kids, my parents (all of them) and all of my extended family and friends. My life is fully in His hands.

I am a lot disappointed, but I have to rely on my faith now and I will. I am so grateful for what I know and my faith in God. Thanks again for all your prayers - keep 'em comin'!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quick Health Update

I saw the oncologist yesterday (Monday). After reviewing my bloodwork it has been determined that I am no longer a candidate for chemotherapy. Basically - Chemo suppresses your bone marrow, as does radiation. My bone marrow has been so suppressed that it is not rebuilding itself. If I continue to do chemo it will just make me weaker and sicker and destroy, or at least dramatically impact, my quality of life. So, no more chemo!! YAY for me!! I am so thrilled. I am also a little concerned about what that means for my cancer, but I am grateful that I don't have to go through the side-effects of chemo again.

My doctor said that if we were seeing another doctor they might just say that they would send me to hospice and from what I understand of that, it's their way of saying - "Sorry, nothing more we can do for you." But my doctor has noticed that my body is fighting this cancer and that I am not showing all the symptoms/signs of some one who is as "sick" as I am. This gives him hope and so he is willing to try a very experimental treatment. This is so experimental that they are not even in clinical testing yet and in fact it is just a theory backed by one study of a doctor that shows promise. The treatment is that I take an extremely low dose of a certain drug that is usually used to help drug addicts get over their addictions. The size dose is about 10% of the traditional dose. I am not 100% sure that we are going this route, but it does sound promising and I don't have anything to lose - there are no side effects. I will be researching this over the next few days and probably start with it next week. We shall see.

Other than that, things here are going well. We are doing lots of homework, cleaning house, making dinner, running errands and just the everyday goings on for a Mom. Halloween is almost upon us and I think I am almost done with the costumes!! So excited!!

Hope all is well with you all. We love you and appreciate your prayers and kind thoughts in our behalf. Enjoy the remainder of your week, we will - with all our activities planned how could we not?!?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grumpy - Grateful

Lately I haven't felt the best so I have been a little grumpy. I think it was Friday night that I looked at Gloria and Nephi and just felt a wave of gratitude wash over me. Yesterday was the school carnival. We went and again as I watched all of my kids playing the games or hangin' with their friends and my wonderful husband helping the 2 little ones (who aren't so little these days), I again felt that gratitude. So, rather than post all the goings on around here for the past few weeks, I decided that I wanted to post what I am grateful for. Here goes:
My loving Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ
My wonderful, loving, helpful husband
My beautiful, energetic children
My delightful and very helpful parents
My extended family and their prayers on my behalf
My friends and their concern for me
A warm home that fits us all
A soft bed to lay on when I feel crummy or am just ready for a good night sleep
A car that fits us all and gets us where we need to go
The bus for bringing David home from school some days
The gospel
The scriptures for teaching me of the Lord
The sun
The rain
The clouds
The beautiful trees and flowers
Umbrellas
Clothes
Shoes
Having plenty of food and even more treats
Store bought sugar cookies with frosting - you know the ones
A good school for my kids to go to
The opportunity for me to go back to school
Hearing Aids
Being crafty
My camera
Time
My health - I know I have cancer - but it could be worse
Pain medicine
Doctors
VIP week in Kindergarten
Star week in 3rd grade
Smiles
Hugs
Kisses from my kids
The United States of America
Memories
The ability to read and write
Music
My husband's beautiful voice
A clean house
Just for Kids (an organization that provides activities for families with cancer)
Sutter Cancer Center's CATS program
Panda Express (yummy spring rolls!!)
Chipotle (love their chicken tacos)
Sees Candy
Pictures
Disneyland
Rollercoaster Rides
Animals (just not at my house)
Sewing
Dates with my husband
Quiet times
Peaceful feelings
Happy thoughts
People that read my blog :)
People that make comments on my blog :)
A Dishwasher
Washers and Dryers for my clothes
Toilets that flush
Running water in my house
A place for my kids to play right outside
Parks
Learning
and the list goes on...

I hope you can take some time today or in the future to just think about what you're grateful for. I know that what I am grateful for far out weighs what I don't care for. Thinking about these things and writing them all down gives me a bit of perspective, kind of like a pro/con list. I have so many things to be grateful for.

I had blood work done today and it came back very close to the same as last time I got it done a month ago. Tomorrow I will meet with my doctor and find out exactly what that means - I am thinking that chemo is a no-go again. In fact, based on my very limited knowledge and understanding, I believe that I am no longer a chemo candidate. My bone marrow has become too suppressed. We shall find out tomorrow and I will pass on any news here.

Enjoy your Sabbath Day. Remember to be grateful. Tell whom you love that you love them and give hugs. All things considered I am doing well and I love my life. Have a happy day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A month?

Wow!! Time sure flies when you are having fun - and we have been having lots of fun! Let's see if I can get you caught up with our busy lives. On August 20th the girls were in a great play put on by the Arden Players Club. They both had speaking parts and singing and dancing parts. It was really a cute show and they had a fun time over the summer going to practice 2 - 4 days per week and learning a lot of music from the 70s and 80s.

The 23rd of August was the first day of school and the wonderfully forgetful mom that I am forgot all about taking pictures. So you will just have to believe me when I say they were the cutest 6th grader, 5th grader, 3rd grader, 1st grader and Kindergartener that I know!
They had a great 1st day and now it has been a few weeks and they are still enjoying going to school!

August 27th I took Vilate on a date to the mall to get her ears pierced! She was so funny walking around the store trying to decide if she was brave enough. She was so nervous that it was going to hurt and she hates to get hurt. After about 20 minutes of coaching from me and the lady who worked there, she decided that she could handle it. She held on so tight to that teddybear and my hand for the first ear, but then once she realized that it didn't really hurt, she did the other ear on her own! Way to go Vilate!!

Faith is my big 6th grader this year and is loving it! The 6th graders at our school have the privilege of having one of the teachers being a guitar fan. Mr. Martin has, for years, taught those 6th graders with a desire to learn, how to play the guitar. Faith was so excited and her Dad took her to a couple of music stores where they located the perfect guitar for her. She is supposed to bring her guitar to school on Fridays for class, but she brings her guitar everyday so that she can play during recess and after lunch. She is constantly cleaning the house up so that she can have some guitar time. So far she has learned: Mary had a Little Lamb, some of Jingle Bells, some of Smoke on the Water and some other parts of songs. She is loving it!!
Let's see what else have we done? We went to the Chili-Cookoff/Pie-Bakeoff at the church a few weeks ago and the kids were bobbing for apples. They were having so much fun. Nephi kept trying to do it - he kept just dunking his head in the bucket of water and was so proud of himself.

On the 31st of August school started for David and I - yes I am going to school again. I need something to do that is a challenge for me and that I enjoy doing. I am taking 2 classes. One is online and it is a class on the family in society and the other is in class two days per week and is a child development that covers infants through adolescents. So far I am enjoying them. David is taking 4 classes (a full load) and his are communications, economics and math classes. So we are busy - but it's a good busy!

I love this picture of Nephi. He came in my room one evening and climbed under the bed and was using the bedskirt as his blanket. I thought he looked really cute laying there!
So that's our month in a nutshell and now we are just plugging away with our routine every week of taking kids to school, going to school ourselves and picking people up.

As for a health update, I saw my doctor a few weeks ago and my bone marrow was too suppressed to do chemo right then. So, today I went and had another blood test and I am at about the same levels, in some areas I am a little worse than last time. I go see the doctor tomorrow and I think he was hoping to do chemo this week, but I know with the numbers that I have now, that it would not be good, so I get a few more weeks off of chemo. I am enjoying feeling almost normal and I love that I have energy to be a part of things. I don't really want to go back to doing chemo so right now we are debating it deciding the pros and cons and counting the cost. I feel good, although I am still very tired.

Life is good, family is great and I am loving every minute of it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Apostle in our Town

Last night right after Faith sang, David and I left the kids with Grandma & Grandpa Morgan at the field and the little ones were home with Grandma Eve and we headed over to the church. It was Stake Conference weekend. We had an Apostle from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles come and speak to us. For those of you who don't know about our church, it is organized like Christ organized the church in the Bible. We have the First Presidency which is the Prophet and his counselors, then we have the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They all reside in Salt Lake City, UT and frequently travel the globe to visit members of the church. There are so many members of our church in so many countries that they only make it Sacramento every so often. We were very blessed that L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, came to visit our Stake and speak to us. David and I went up to him last night and shook his hand and met his lovely wife.

It was a unique and wonderful experience to sit at an apostles feet and be taught. I felt the spirit and knew that, even though it was hard to sit there physically and my kids were crazy loud today, I knew that I was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. I was reassured of the love the Lord has for me and I was reminded that He really does know everything that is going on in my life. I was reminded that He has experienced all this and that He wants what is best for me and my family. What a blessing to live in this day and age, when there are so many things that are good for me to see, feel and hear. I needed yesterday and today to remind me that I am not alone. Not only do I have a wonderful husband, great kids, a wonderful family and awesome friends, I have my Savior. I am one blessed lady!!

One of the Coolest Things

Last night David and I took the 3 older kids, Faith, Hyrum and Vilate and went with my parents to the River Cats game. Faith had tried out and been chosen to sing the National Anthem at the game. It was so cool! Because she was down on the field preparing to sing the song, they also let her throw out one of the first pitches along with some other kids.

We were told that we would get some pictures and a DVD of her performance from the River Cats. When I get them I will upload them for your viewing pleasure.

She really did a great job and I was a proud Mama watching her out there on that huge, beautiful field and seeing her on the big screen! So cool!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday to Gloria


July 28th was Gloria's 5th birthday and we had fun celebrating. We had a lot of activities planned on her actual birthday - too bad they were all for the older kids! We did end the day with a pink frosted cake!!
We threw a party the next week at the park. It was simple and I made the greatest pinata! It's a Honey Nut Cheerios box covered in a bag that you put presents in. I taped tissue paper on the top to make it more authentic.
It was funny that this pinata lasted longer than any other pinata we have ever used. The string broke and at the end David was having the big kids play baseball with it. It was hilarious.

Gloria loved being the birthday girl. She loves to give hugs and kisses. She is a sweet girl that loves to be a girl. She loves dresses and pink shoes. She loves it when I call her princess. Gloria loves to play with Nephi. They come up with some great games. Gloria plays with My Little Ponies, collects Barbies - she doesn't play with them so much as just likes to have a lot of them. She loves Littlest Pets Shop toys and especially playing with the big girls stuff. She is excited to start Kindergarten and can't wait to go to the big kids school. Gloria loves to be read to and would sit for hours if someone would just keep reading to her. She loves to have her hair done. Glo is a happy little girl that makes me smile daily!! I'm so glad she was sent to our family - with her bright blonde hair and big blue eyes. I love this kid!!



Monday, August 9, 2010

HaPpY 10tH bIrThDaY hYrUm!!!

July 27th was Hyrum's 10th birthday! We celebrated the day by going to the California State Fair. We haven't gone to the fair in years - I think Faith and Hyrum were just toddlers the last time we went. We had a blast!! The kids got to ride whatever they wanted and the favorite was the slide. They were flying!!
After the fair we headed home ate a quick dinner and enjoyed eating Turtle Pie.
David then took Hyrum to the store and bought him his first pocket knife. He was given a $20 budget and ended up being able to buy 2 that were on sale and come under his budget! What a great shopper!!
Hyrum is awesome! I love his happiness. It is contagious. He loves the gospel and tries really hard to be obedient and do what's right. He loves baseball. He looks forward every week to going to Cub Scouts and participating with the other boys. He has recently caught the reading bug and I love seeing him read in his room at night. He loves to play video games - especially Pokemon on the DS and Mario on the Wii. He is a good kid and is learning how to be a better leader among his siblings. He loves to sword fight with Nephi and Helaman and come up with intricate games with all the kids together. I love you bunches Hyrum!! You are a great addition to our family and I can't imagine life without you in it!!!



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Enough Already!!

Just so everyone knows, this is going to be a complaining post. I generally don't post when I feel sad, angry, frustrated or anything else negative. I don't want to be remembered as a complainer or as someone who couldn't deal with things. But today I have had enough!! I am tired of being a cancer patient. I am tired of driving daily to radiation treatments. I am tired of pain and pain medicine. I am tired of not being able to be a mom the way that I used to be and really want to be. I want my life back!!! NOW!

Everyone tells me that I am handling this so well and that I am such an inspiration. But please know that I am not perfect. I have had many "bad" days. My poor children and husband have to deal with me all the time and they can attest to those days. I am grumpy a lot more than I should be. My faith is lacking in many ways. I don't trust my Father in Heaven the way that I should. I don't read my scriptures enough. I don't know enough about them. I need to become much better at that. I don't pray enough. I need to have conversations with my Father in Heaven more often. I'm sure that those things will help my "bad" days become fewer.

Lately I have spent so much time in my bed just laying here missing out on things. I long for the days that I used to do so many things and get them done. I had energy to do them and desire to do them. The desire is there, for the most part, just not the energy. A lot of the reason I have been in bed is because the pain is great and I am having to take pain meds that make me so tired and loopy. I am really skinny now - down more than 50 pounds. I weigh less now than I did when we got married. I know that riding my stationary bike will help with the weight and energy, but riding my bike isn't what I want to do - I should do it anyway.

Really my life is not so bad. My children are all healthy and growing well. They are happy and are very smart and looking forward to going back to school in a few weeks to see their friends. I have a husband who loves me very much and he even scrubbed the bathroom ceiling today for me. He is leading the way to clean out our house and get rid of all the junk. Today he spent hours in the girls' room helping them to get rid of stuff and organize it so that they can better utilize the space and got it done. Tomorrow we are on to the boys' room. He drives me where ever I need to go and makes sure the kids get to where they need to be.

So, today is not so good, but tomorrow will be better and I'm already feeling happier. We are going to take the kids swimming at the club now - maybe I'll get in today. I'm sure it will help me continue to feel better. I know this is really for my benefit and the benefit for my family - but sometimes it just feels like too much. If you are still reading this, thanks for listening to me complain! Sometimes just getting off your chest is helpful. We are going to have some fun now. And I am going to get some hugs from some really great kids and a husband I love more than anything! Have a good day - mine can only get better from here!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tattoos

Just a quick reminder that these tattoos are just dots on my skin. They are black and about the size of a sharpie dot on a piece of paper. They are just so that the techs that do my radiation know where to position my body so that I get the radiation in the right spot. Didn't mean to confuse anyone!! I do not have and am not in the least bit interested in getting artwork tattoos.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tattoos

So the doctor's office called this morning and asked if I could come in today instead of Friday. We called a friend to watch all the kiddos (thanks Robyn) and headed out to Rancho Cordova. We met with the doctor and I had to sign a form stating that I understood the risks of the radiation and then off to get tattoos we went. I have 3 more - one on my stomach - right at the bottom of my sternum, and then one on each side about the same distance down on my torso. Let me tell you it was pretty exciting! - being a rebel that is. Just kidding. But they did hurt more this time then I remember them hurting last time.

I will start radiation on Monday afternoon and then I will go for 14 more days in the mornings. They will then follow-up with scans and bloodwork to make sure all is well. Here we go!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's a slower busy!

We have been enjoying our summer and are over half-way through with it. We have been swimming - not as much as I have wanted, but some. The kids have been cleaning out their rooms - we went through all the kids drawers and have bags in the car on their way to DI. We have thrown away many broken toys and books and even with all that work - those kids still have way too much stuff!!!

Faith and Vilate are involved in a local group that is putting a play together. They were just cast in the show - Vilate has a lot of lines to memorize and Faith is singing a solo in the show. They are really enjoying it and go twice a week in the mornings.

The rest of the time at our house has been spent playing video games, reading books from the local library, watching a lot (way too much) TV, cleaning house, clearing out drawers and closets and throwing away a bunch of junk! On Wednesday and Thursday here at the apartments there are scheduled activities for kids from 10:30am - 2:30pm. They have a blast playing games and even doing work (math, reading, etc.). They actually said it was fun to do school work over there!

We are planning on going to the State Fair next week. Gloria wants to have a birthday party and Hyrum wants a sleepover for his birthday - we shall see if either of those activities come to fruition.

We have had lots of appointments and places to be, but it has been a lot less than at the end of the school year and we are enjoying the slower pace.

34 days until school starts!! I only know that because Helaman just asked me to count :). He is so excited to be starting 1st grade!! I am so proud of that kid - all of them really. Helaman has become quite the reader and loves to read to anyone that will listen. Every morning the kids all read the "Book of Mormon Reader" together. Helaman can read a whole page by himself and he is so proud of himself. So cool to see!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Radiation

Well, they decided against doing the last radiation on my ribs. I went in and saw the radiology oncologist and got the pictures taken and all marked up and then they were able to match up exactly where I was having the pain and it did not coincide with what they had thought was causing it - the tumor on my rib. So they cancelled it.

Because the pain is still there they did a little more investigating and found that the source of my pain is my enlarged liver. It has been enlarged since this whole thing began but now it is apparently rubbing against my ribs or something and that is causing the pain. So the doctors' suggested treatment is either pain control or, more aggressive treatment of radiating my liver. Over the phone when they first recommended radiating my liver they had to tell me the risk - 5-10% liver failure. That was kinda scary to hear.

Since hearing that information we have been trying to make a decision whether to do it or not. We have researched info on the web (what a pain that is!!), talked with multiple doctors, prayed and fasted to know what the best thing for my body would be. I have also sent my medical records on to The Huntsman Cancer Institute located in Salt Lake City, Utah. As of now we are going through with the radiation to my liver. We feel like it is a good option. My type of cancer responds well to radiation, so there is a very good chance this will help my liver to get rid of some of that cancer that's in there. There is risk - 5-10% of liver failure. It can take 3-6 months to show up. We shall go on faith and hope for the best.

I meet with the doctor on Friday to get all lined up and might get another set of tattoos!! So exciting!! When my leg was radiated in January I got 3 freckle-sized tattoos on my legs. I'll let ya all know on Friday!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vilate's Special Day


Vilate was baptized last night at the church. We had a great turnout and it was a wonderful service. Friends of ours brought this delicious cake from Ettore's - a local Italian Cafe. She loved it.
We are so happy for Vilate and pleased with her choice. Right after she was baptized I was helping her change out of her wet clothes and in to her white dress and she was so happy. She kept saying, "Now I'm a member of the church." She was so excited and pleased with herself.
Aren't they are cute couple? I love this picture of the two of them. My wonderful, handsome and worthy husband and my beautiful, sweet and innocent daughter. I love them so very much!!

Thanks to all who helped set up: my parents, David's parents, Tina, Alvina, and Bishop Timpson. And all else who came, helped and showed their support for our Vilate. Your examples and testimonies are much appreciated and bless the lives of us and our children.

4th of July

Our 4th started off bright and early at the park with the ward. We had a wonderful pancake breakfast. The kids walked, rode bikes, rollerblades, and scooters in a parade around the park. There was a great turn out and the kids had a marvelous time. I really enjoyed visiting with my friends and ward family.

We went home for a bit and then we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa Morgan's house to swim and BBQ and just have a bunch of fun with our cousins!
We missed having the Robinson family with us and we missed the "out-of-towners." But the rest of us had a wonderful time.

After the swimming, BBQ-ing and Yummy homemade ice cream - and after my nap - we went out front and let the kids do some "Morning Glory" fireworks. They love it and had a great time writing their names in Grandpa's gutter. Silly kids!!At the end of the many, many Morning Glories, Grandpa lit a whole bunch in his hand. The kids thought his torch was so cool. He couldn't lift it up like the Statue of Liberty because of all the sparks flying off but it sure was a nice looking torch!
After the festivities we went home and went to bed. It had been a really long, but very fun day!

I love the 4th of July. It is one of my favorite holidays. I am so grateful that we live in a country that was set aside and kept safe by the Lord as a place where the gospel could be restored. I know that I am blessed to live here and be a citizen. I love our flag. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Star Spangled Banner make me so happy. They fill my heart with indescribable joy. I appreciate so much those young men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving our country and I pray for their welfare. I am grateful to the Founding Fathers and their vision and dedication to this country. How blessed we are!

I hope you all had an enjoyable 4th of July!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

CBL

This is the new catch phrase at my house - CBL. It stands for "Come Back Later." Every night the older 4 kids ask if they can CBL. With summer and little kids in the house we still make everyone go to bed by 8pm. We try for 7:30, but we usually make it by 8. Nephi is accustomed to laying on the couch with Mom and/or Dad with all the lights out and a boring show on TV - boring meaning entertaining for us but boring for him such as NCIS, The Office, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc. For him to fall asleep he needs there to be no distractions - especially kids around.

So we send everyone to bed and once Nephi - and Gloria are sleeping they can usually CBL. I just think it's so silly that they have come up with a code word so Glo and Nephi don't know what they are up to. The older 3 came up with it and Helaman caught on really quick so he hopped on board. They usually CBL and stay up until around 10. I am in bed by then and some nights I know they push that time even later. David stays on top of them, but he tries to get to bed with me before 9. We are getting old and we get tired.

My kids are so funny and I love their little codes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Boy who drives me crazy....

Today Nephi was a crazy man. I love this little boy - but he is oh so 3!! He spent most of the day begging us to take him to the "90 - 90 - 90 - 90 cent store" (99cent store) or demanding candy and soda. When he wasn't whining he was doing the silliest stuff. At one point he came up to me cupped my face in his sweet little hands, looked into my eyes and said, "Mommy, I am really proud of you." I responded, "For what." His response, "I - don't - knowwwww!" Followed by a giggle attack! It was sooo funny.

This little guy is more crazy than I remember my other two boys being. He hates to be told No and when someone tells him that he needs to wait a minute, his response is: "It's gonna take forever!! UGH!!" or "I NEVER get it!" Hilarious stuff that comes out of his mouth everyday makes me laugh and sometimes want to strangle him all the same time! I cannot imagine life without this handsome little boy in it!! Love you Nephi!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Doctor visit

I went into the doctor today and here's what happened:

Yesterday afternoon I started feeling some pain on my right side. This morning it was still there and a little worse. So, I called the advice line and they made me an appointment with my doc. I saw him and he looked over my last scan and poked and proded and has come to the conclusion that the cancer on my lower right rib is growing. He gave me more pain meds and has now referred me to get radiation again - this time on my side. As of my last scan the cancer spot there had been stable, but with the pain he thinks it is growing so that we should be proactive and radiate it.

Other than that I am feeling much better today. This round of chemo was hard to recover from. It's been one week and I am finally feeling pretty good. I do take some pretty heavy duty meds, but they are low doses so I don't feel so out of it.

I like all the people at the radiology place so it will be nice to see them again - not that I am looking forward to driving out there over and over again. But if they can get this thing under control I will be a much happier camper.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just thoughts

We have had a very busy day and I have taken all of my medicine - which usually puts me to sleep, but I am not feeling sleepy at all!! So I thought that I would blog a little about what's on my mind tonight.

I am so grateful for my family. I have the world's greatest kids who love me and who are more than willing to jump in and help (most of the time) when I need it. It has been interesting to watch them over the past 13 months transition from kids whose mom did everything for them to being more independent and helpful. I have a fantastic husband who is helping to teach the kids to be independent and taking care of me. He really loves me and that is an amazing blessing to me daily! I have great parents and in-laws who love me and support us in everything. They arrange their very busy schedules to help us and to be there for support whenever we ask them. I am blessed with brothers and sisters (natural, step and in-law) who also support us and are willing to help whenever we need it. I have nieces and nephews with testimonies of the gospel and sweet spirits who are concerned for my health and I get to play with and love. As you can see I am blessed with an amazing family!!

I also have fantastic friends who I love to visit with, go to dinner with, go to see silly teenage movies with and just enjoy! To borrow a line from Faith and Vilate's book - My friends ROCK!!

As much as I am blessed, I feel it so strongly today of all days. You see today is the day I beat the odds. The median life expectancy for my type of cancer is 8 - 13 months. Today is 13 months and one day. I have won!! Yes I know I'm not cured, the fight's not over and I don't know what the future holds, but according to the doctor, my body is fighting this thing. I am so grateful to all my family and friends - it is because of you that my body is fighting. You give me hope, you give me support and most of all, you give me your love! Thanks for sharing your sweetness and your hope for me. It definitely keeps me going!!

I love my life - as much as I hate chemo, I am learning how to rely on the Lord. He is good and He wants me to be happy. I am happy. Many people might think that sounds weird, but I truly am. I know that being happy is up to me. I can choose to "love the road that I am on" - and I do. The road I am on is not always fun, but it is a good road and I have a great destination that I am headed for. Thanks for all your love!! ~ Kaci

Vilate turns 8

We have another 8 year old in the house!! Today was Miss Vilate's birthday!! We started off the day with donuts then on to pick up friends, McDonald's for lunch, swimming at Del Norte and then home for spaghetti dinner and ice cream sundaes. It was a very full and fun day!!! Vilate is going to be baptized on July 9th (Friday) at the Stake Center at 6pm. We are so happy for her - she is super excited and spending this week practicing being a peacemaker - her primary teacher gave her that assignment and she is having a difficult time, but hasn't given up yet!!

Vilate is such a dynamic kid. She loves her friends and her brothers and sisters. She is passionate and while that has it's benefits, sometimes she goes a little overboard!! Vilate loves to take care of others and help them. Vilate loves school and dreams of being either a teacher or a rock star. She loves to play the guitar and piano. For Christmas she got a microphone and loves to sing into it through the amplifier just like she's on stage. She also uses her easel and old school papers to play classroom and she is always the teacher. The little kids love playing school with Vilate. Vilate has a tenderheart and always wants to fix things and help people to get along. She has an obedient spirit and likes to be the enforcer!!

As much as she sometimes drives me crazy - I love this kid with all of my heart and I am so SUPER grateful that she came into our family!! Love you Vilate - I hope you had the happiest of Birthdays today!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Movin' along

Well I have successfully completed 15 rounds of chemo. So far I feel just fine. It will hit me in a day or two and I will be really, really tired. Other than that I should be just fine.

On Tuesday night Vilate, Helaman and Gloria completed a 6-week art class through Sutter Cancer Center. It was a magnificent class with wonderful instructors who, using art, opened the door for discussion on cancer. It was great for the kids and they are sad that it is over - but they loved showing us all their art projects.

While they went to their class, I had a class of my own. Nancy, my mom, came with me to most of the classes - in fact she just didn't come to the 1st one because I didn't think about it until after that first class. It was a group therapy class for people affected by cancer - either have/had it or are a caregiver. Mostly it was the parents of the children in the art class. At first I was not quite sure what I thought of it. As the class went on, I looked forward to it every week and I am really sad that it is over. They will start up another one in the fall - both art and the group therapy. This time it will be an art class for older kids. Vilate will be able to participate again and Faith and Hyrum will go as well. The little kids will be sad - but they will do another "little kid" class later in the fall.

We met great people. I feel like I made some good friends and I am grateful for technology - email, facebook and blogs - to be able to keep in contact with them. I wish them all the best in their challenges and adventures.

As for my foot - according to the doctor on Monday, the radiologist said that it is officially NOT broken. YAY!!! I was so glad to take that boot off. At the doctor I weighed my self with it on and then with it off - it weighed over 3 pounds!! Crazy!

Now I am boot-free and my foot is feeling good. I have horrible bruising on top of my foot and it is still very tender, but I can wear my flip-flops with no problem, so all's good!!

My doctor's appointment went well. I saw a different doctor as mine was called out on an emergency. This new doctor said he doesn't subscribe to the strict diet that my doctor does. He thinks that there is really not enough evidence that it makes that big of a difference. So now I am kind of torn. It doesn't help that I also have lost about 5 pounds in the last month and that is really dangerous. So, I am going to add in a few things, but not get too crazy. I will be also working harder at getting on the bike in my living room and exercising. I think moderation is the key. So that's what my plan is for now, let's see how good I can stick with it!!

I must say I am so excited that I get to have Dreyer's Strawberry Ice Cream again!!! Ohhhhhh I love it sooooo very much!!!!! I also got to go and get Leatherby's Peppermint Ice Cream and that was oh so de-lish!!!

Bye for now!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nephi turns 3...Yipee!!


Today was a great Saturday. It was Nephi's 3rd birthday and we started the day with a trip to the park. We invited friends and family to meet us at the park for a little party in the morning and it was delightful. I have pictures that I will upload, maybe tomorrow.

He loved playing and hitting the pinata. He sure got mad when his turn was over and had a really hard time waiting for the Transformer to be broken open. The kids all had a fabulous time. I really love doing simple parties like that at the park. The kids seem to all enjoy it, the adults get to visit, it's CHEAP, easy clean-up and I'm not dead tired at the end! It was a great party!!

Following Nephi's party we came home for lunch, cleaned the kids rooms, dropped Hyrum at another birthday party and headed over to yet another party. I'm telling you it was a party day!! The kids loved going down a waterslide and running around with their friends. I love all the end of school festivities, there are just so many and packing that many things in only a few days really tires me out - but it is worth it to visit with all my friends and watch my kids have a blast!!

Thanks to everyone who opened their homes to us. We have had a fantastic time!!

As for my foot - it is feeling much better. I don't believe that it is broken. The docs did say that they weren't 100% sure - the x-ray was of a spot where many bones overlap. David wants me to wear the boot for a while longer and see how I do. I have consented for now, but that thing weighs a ton and is hard to move around in. I go into the doctor on Monday for a "check-up" so that I can start round 15 of chemo on Tuesday. I don't expect to get really any news due to the fact that I haven't had any tests. Next week is busy with chemo and more parties/playdays - but thankfully it won't be anything like this past week was!! Today David finally had had enough driving around and bouncing from one thing to the next. I totally felt his pain as he asked me what else was on the schedule for today!! I am ready for the bouncing to stop and I am excited for a slow summer. I doubt it will really happen - but a momma can dream right?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Of all the rotten luck...

We are in full swing, end of school mode right now with crazy busy schedules. Between 2 Father's Day parties, one Preschool graduation, an end of baseball season party with one team, final baseball games, Angel Island, art classes, end of Girl Scouts parties and more, we have been swamped!! Then yesterday I was bringing something in from the car and it dropped on my foot - guess what?!?! I BROKE IT!!! LAME!!!! I can't use enough exclamation points!! So today I drove out to Kaiser and got x-rays then ended the trip getting my very fashionable boot put on. Lucky for me I made it back in time for Gloria's preschool presentation and graduation. Now here I sit with my foot up and ice on it. This is no fun!! Only 3 weeks and 6 days to go and then I can get rid of this silly boot.

Other than that we are doing great! The kids are enjoying all of the festivities and we are as well. I don't like school to end - not because the kids will be home more, but because I will miss the association with the other parents. It's nice to have friends. I hope everyone has a great summer vacation - see ya in the Fall!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Camping, Morphine, and kiddos

Last Friday we trekked out to Camp Nauvoo in Placerville (about an hour east of us). As we were approaching Placerville the rain started coming down. By the time we got there it was pretty much pouring! I was so mad! You plan all this time and then you get there and it's ruined. We decided to stay for dinner and the campfire program and then we loaded up the kids and drove home. All things considered, it was fun. The kids got to throw rocks into the creek. We got to eat a yummy dinner and enjoy the campfire. The kids performed on the stage at the campfire. Gloria even got up and told a ghost story - which I'm told she giggled most of the way through - I was back at the van getting Nephi and myself in warmer clothes. On the way home we got stopped in a Driver's License check point and the officer asked us how much David had had to drink. We responded with, "Absolutely nothing." to which he responded, "You do realize that it is Friday night, right?" What?! Not enough people to pull over I guess.

On Saturday I started Morphine and let me tell you it was HORRIBLE!! I took it for 3 days and I couldn't function. David was great and waited on me hand and foot and after the 3 days I had to stop taking it - I was having breathing trouble. So I called the doc and he lowered my dose by 50%. I just started that today so we shall see how it works. So far, so good.

Vilate left Tuesday to go on her class's "big" fieldtrip of the year. They went to Calaveras Big Trees and Mercer Cavererns. They were supposed to go Tuesday thru Thursday, but after terrible weather yesterday and a freezing night last night, they did what they could today and packed up and headed home. She was a little disappointed, but seems to have had a great time! Thanks to all the moms and dads who kept an eye on her - as well as all the other kiddos of mine that went traveling - Hyrum to Yosemite and Faith to Marin Headlands.

By the way, I figured out why I was so mad at everyone a week or so ago. It was the Vicodin. I had forgotten that it makes me really grumpy. Once I remembered and stopped taking it I was back to the occasionally grumpy normal. Man it was sure scary - for me and the kids when I was so angry. Things are much better now - hopefully Morphine won't cause the same temperament change.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How's it really goin?

Last week I had a CT scan - let me just tell you to start off that those are my least favorite. I have to drink only clear liquids for 4 hours before the scan, then 2 hours before my appointment I have to drink 10 oz of this yucky barium stuff. I have to drink 10 oz again 1 hour before and then again 30 minutes before. It is nasty tasting stuff. After drinking my stuff I go to the radiology department at Kaiser and check in. Then they have me lay on a bed and try to find a vein. In fact it is so difficult to find one of my veins that they have to go and get one of the ER nurses and it always takes more than one stick - this time it was only 2. Yay nurse!!! Following the stick they take pictures, which only takes about 30 seconds. Then they inject the iodine and take another 30 seconds of pictures. A lot of preparation and misery for less than a minute worth of pictures!

The last time I had the iodine I started sneezing and my throat got sore. At the time they said that I might have developed an allergy tot he iodine, but not to worry about it. They kept me for about 30 minutes afterward for evaluation. This time as soon as they injected the iodine my mouth started itching, my throat got sore, I sneezed and my eyes were itching so bad I wanted to dig them out! So this time they sent me to the ER. The got me on some meds right away and the symptoms subsided. I only had to hang around for about an hour, but COME ON!!! Really, an allergy to something else?!?!?! So frustrating. They told me that next time I need to let my doc know so that he can premedicate me so that I don't have the reaction. Good times!!

Anyway, I went to my doctor yesterday and had to have my "pre-chemo" checkup. They check my blood levels and just make sure that my body can handle the next round. The doc reviewed my CT Scan and according to the report and the pictures, my cancer is still stable!!! I have 6 months of stable scans and stable weight. That is HUGE!! He said that even though we have lowered the dose of the medicine, my body is fighting this cancer. AWESOME!!! I was so worried walking in there that the news was going to be bad, but at the same time I felt calm and peaceful - I can't really explain how that worked - feeling both of those at the same time, but I did and I was super relieved that everything was stable.

He did prescribe Morphine for all the joint pains that I have been having and I will be starting that on Saturday. You see I am not allowed to drive once I start on it for a few days while I see how my body will react. It wouldn't be safe and I could get pulled over and get a DUI - don't really need one of those. So, David will be done with school on Friday and will be available to be the chauffeur for next week so that I can just relax and try the meds. So, if you see me next week and I am acting a bit strange please don't hold it against me. Hopefully I will be able to tolerate the Morphine just fine and hopefully it will help to control the pain.

I started chemo today and, as is always the case, I am feeling great today. I always seem to have more energy and drive on chemo days then others. Maybe the nurses and other patients just inspire me. They all seem to be happy and have a good attitude. It really is a great environment to be in - crazy huh?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On my mind...

As I sit here and think of all things that we have done lately - playing and watching baseball games, doing puzzles with kids, having Nephi, Gloria and Helaman cook me delicious plastic food in the Elmo kitchen, driving David to school when he missed his bus, driving kids here, there and everywhere, missing events and all the other things that I could be blogging about, and none of them seem really important at the moment. Don't get me wrong - it's not the kids that I am talking about, it's just all the "stuff" that has to be done on a daily basis.

We went to my brother and sister-in-law's house tonight for dinner. I was so angry before we went. I got so mad at the kids and by the time we got there I felt so horrible. I asked Kelli (my sister) to go inside while I talked to the kids. David had a meeting and was unable to go. I apologized to the kids, told them how sorry I was and asked for their forgiveness. They were so sweet and said that it was okay and that they understood and loved me. Do I have the greatest kids or what?!

We had a really good time visiting with family and watching family home videos that Jarrod took 5 years ago. It was neat to see Faith, Hyrum, Vilate, and Helaman, as well as the other cousins, when they were little. They were so cute!

On the ride home we listened to some church music on the way home and one song really struck me. Here are the lyrics:

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives my ever living Head.
He lives to bless em with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my souls complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise heavenly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Text by Samuel Medley

I have heard this song so many times before. I grew up with this song and had memorized the words while in High School if not before. It was a song that we sung often at church. Today, though, it struck a chord. As I was typing the lyrics just now, I thought, "I should mark this line as particularly special to me." The problem with marking individual lines? They all are so special to me. This is my testimony. I am so grateful to the Savior - to MY Savior. I am struggling with my health right now, but my testimony is growing in leaps and bounds. I know that my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ have a plan for me and my family. I know that regardless of what happens with my life - whether I live to be 80+ or die in just a few months - the Lord will take care of me and my family. The kids will be fine. They will learn from this whole experience. Their faith will grow and they will gain testimonies of their own. David will also grow and become a better man. I will be a better mom and wife to all of them. There is a purpose for this trial and I intend to gain everything I can from it.

I know I have said it before, I truly appreciate all of your prayers and kind words in my behalf. Your kindness and generosity humble me and I am inspired by each one of you and your families. I pray that you will be blessed. Enjoy your week - we are busy this week, but we will get it all done and be better for it at the end of the week.

Love to all, Kaci

Friday, May 14, 2010

Still Here

I am still around and just trying to get through the end of the semester for David and all the kids lengthy fieldtrips. We are busy doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming (don't tell Nephi - he's terrified of the the vacuum), cleaning and packing - not to mention all the driving to and fro. I am hoping to update on the goings on around here this weekend - maybe tomorrow night or Sunday.

Quick health update: My pain level has reached new highs. I am now taking Vicodin regularly and it seems to help the pain. Other than that, I am a little tired, but all things considered I am doing great. Most of the time I feel good and I have noticed the more involved I am in the goings-on around here, the better I feel, physically and emotionally. I had a CT scan last Monday and I will get the results on Wednesday at my next doctor's appointment. I have my 14th round of chemo scheduled for Thursday and Friday of next week.

The biggest problem lately for me has been my memory. I have forgotten 5 or 6 things this week - places I needed to be, obligations and assignments that I was supposed to complete and I totally blew it!! I guess it is just "chemo brain" at it's finest! I have determined if there is anything in the future that I schedule, I must immediately punch it in on my calendar - otherwise it is not gonna get done. Good news is: I remember that I have an awesome husband and 6 children that rock. I have yet to forget one - although I was late to pick up one on Thursday because I got distracted - I hope that doesn't count - I was only 10 minutes late! :)

All is well here and we are really looking forward to this summer. I hope you are too!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Airplanes









































Today we got to go to a local airport and see an ultralight plane up close. It was a blast. Brother Bardin (a friend from church) brought his plane for the Cub Scouts to come and see it. Siblings were invited to attend, so we packed up the crew and headed to McClellan. The kids got to sit in the plane. They all thought it was pretty cool. The kids got to watch Bro. Bardin take-off and then he flew by and touched down then went up again. It was cool because as he was leaving to return to Lodi, where he is a flight instructor, to return his plane, he waved with the plane at us. The kids, and parents, all thought that was pretty neat. Thanks Bro. Bardin for showing us your plane!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

P.S. Thanks

To all out here who read my blog (or notes on Facebook) and then leave comments, Thanks! Your words of encouragement and love are such a blessing for me. Keep the comments coming.

Easter with the Morgans

I know these posts are out of order, but I want to get them on here.

We had a great time last Friday night at my parents' house. We went for dinner with the family that lives nearby and then had an egg hunt for the kids. Th
e kids loved the candy and dinner was fantastic!! It was raining outside so we had to hold the hunt inside and we used the entire downstairs. I am pretty sure they found all the candy - with 17 kids looking I don't think they could have missed one!!!

After the egg hunt the kids nestled in with Grandma and Grandpa to watch "The Princess and The Frog." I sat on the stairs and got this picture -

I think I was able to get everyone except Abram. He's only 15 months and kept wondering in and out of the movie. We are also missing Natahlie, Skylar and Morgan - they all live out of state and weren't able to make it - we missed you guys!!

It was a great night. Thanks Dad and Nancy for hosting!!

Locks of Love

For a year Vilate and I have had a battle over her hair. It is long and gorgeous - if she would just brush it!! She hates spending the time on it and refuses to wear it in a ponytail, braid or anything that might look even slightly girlie. So, after spending over 30 minutes trying to brush it out on a Sunday morning, I laid down the law and told her she was getting it cut and donating it because I was done dealing with it. She was mad at first and cried, but then came around - especially when I told her that I would take her out after to get an ice cream cone!

So, here is her haircut/photo shoot:
Before:
During (please notice the smile):
Here's the after (She wanted to hold her hair in the picture):
Enjoying the spoils! Oh it was so hard to sit there and not eat any ice cream - especially when I had to walk up there with Vilate to pick out her's and I saw the Chocolate with Peanut Butter!! But I exercised total self-restraint and didn't have any!! Yay me!!
I think that she looks great. I think overall she likes it. She has no problem brushing it and I am so glad that I don't have to spend so much time and hurt her to brush her hair out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Oops, I forgot!

I promised someone that I would blog what happened to us. The week before we were headed to Disneyland we were out at Deseret Industries - actually we were meeting with a counselor at LDS Family Services, in the same parking lot, with whom we were discussing how to tell the children the severity of my cancer. After our session, at about 6:15pm we headed out to the car in the rain and found our front window broken. Some really lame people (or as Gloria and Nephi refer to them: the bad guys) broke into our car and stole our DVD player, radio faceplate, some CDs and the remotes to both the radio and DVD player. And it was RAINING!!!!! David and the LDS Family Services security went out in the rain and cleaned up the glass and taped up the window with packing tape until we could get it replaced the next morning.

Talk about lame timing!! The next morning David took the car and got the window repaired and then I started looking on Ebay to replace the faceplate - we were leaving for Disneyland in just over a week - can you imagine a ride in the car with 6 kids and no radio?!?!? I'm sure many people have done it - I know as a kid we did things like that - but it just sounded like a nightmare to me!! I also researched DVD players online and ended up at Best Buy and got a really nice new one.

So, what did we learn from this experience? Don't leave things out in plain sight, remove the faceplate EVERYTIME you exit the vehicle - besides isn't that why we bought that model?, and that what was taken are all just things that can be replaced. We were grateful that they didn't take the whole car - man that would've been a nightmare! I am grateful we were in a safe place and that the people there were so helpful.

Spring Break & Emotions

We have had a pretty low-key Spring Break. We went to 4 baseball games and just hung out here at home. I was pretty wiped out from last week's chemo. This time they up-ed my dose to 70% (the last two rounds I had a 50% dose). It has been a difficult one.

The worst was Sunday when my body hurt to touch. Slowly over the past week things have been improving. But I must admit this has probably been the hardest week of this whole experience. A few weeks ago we informed the kids of how serious my cancer is. We had shielded them prior to that. I could tell that they were concerned and the doctor said that we should prepare them for anything that might happen. He suggested that with my blood levels being so low, I could go in to the hospital for a fever or infection and not make it out. He said that most cancer patients die from a fever or infection, not the cancer itself. So, we told the kids. Man that was a hard few weeks. The first conversation was about resurrection and that Jesus Christ was resurrected and that we will be also one day.

The next week at Family Home Evening we asked what they knew about my cancer and Hyrum said, "All I know is that Mom has cancer, but she will be fine." We decided in that moment to jump on that. We told Hyrum and all the other kids that that was true, but not in the way they were thinking. We proceeded to tell them a little more about my cancer, that it was a bad one that might take my life sooner than we would like. We told them about me getting sick and that that could take my life sooner that we would like. There were a lot of tears, but amid those tears David and I were able to bear our testimonies and share the love of the Lord with these wonderful children. We were able to tell them that no matter what happens Heavenly Father knows what is happening and that He will take care of all of us. We, of course, told the kids to ask any questions that they had or will have in the future - that we would love to talk with them and help them.

I m so grateful for this precious children that were sent to my home. This past week has been emotionally difficult for me - I don't want to leave these children or my husband! I am their mother and I want to continue in that role until I'm around 80 or so - even longer if I can. My doctor has prescribed a new diet and I started last Monday with no sugar or dairy in my diet. I also do not eat red meat (including pork). I can have very limited chicken (like maybe once a week) and I am allowed fish daily. I am a HUGE fan of dark chocolate and ice cream. What a major adjustment this has been for me. I am doing well and exercising extreme self-control, especially as today is Easter and the kids got buckets full (literally) of candy! I also have to exercise daily, so we have invested in an exercise bike - gotta love Craigslist!!

I have had the "it's not fair" thoughts and feelings - that is until today. Last night it all kind of came out at poor Dave. I just lost it and couldn't stop crying. He held me for hours and asked me to not give up hope, but to exercise my faith - he said I had a lot of faith. Today was the second day of General Conference (GC is a satellite broadcast from Salt Lake - our church headquarters. During GC the leaders of our church: the prophet, apostles and other leaders - known as General Authorities, speak to us and teach us what we should be doing, where our focus should be.) It was a great day where I got to listen to many General Authorities bear their testimonies of the Savior. It reminded me of my testimony and buoyed up my faith and encouraged my hope. I have a renewed sense of who I am - a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who wants nothing more than my success. Whether my success be here on this earth or on the "other side" I know that He will care for my family through whatever may come.

So there you go, I am caught up, I think! I love the Lord. I love my family. I love my friends. I am a blessed lady who couldn't ask for much more. Thank you for including me, and my family, in your prayers. We feel the power that comes from those prayers and truly appreciate your love. May you all have a happy Easter and enjoy the times that you have with your loved ones - I know I will!!

Still playin' catch-up

This past month has been filled with lots of stuff! We got a new couch - I love it. We set leprechaun traps and when the leprechauns came they left green snickerdoodles and green stamps on the kids faces and arms. It was a great "leprechaun's day" at our house. That week the girls were in a school play. It was a play that Faith was in over the summer last year called "Multiplication Nation." Vilate was type cast as a lackey that got into a fight - more than one parent commented that it was a part right up her alley!! On 2 of the 4 nights Faith played "Nova," the lovely assistant at the circus and as such had to sing a pretty difficult solo. The other 2 nights she played smaller parts and Vilate had other parts as well. It was a great play - really fun to watch, but I am super glad it's over as they were practicing between 3 and 6 days a week for the past 2 months!

The Saturday after the play performances was Opening Day at the baseball fields. We love Opening Day, but it sure was a long one this year. We got there at 7:30, after dropping the little ones off at a friend's house (thanks Sarah). Started with a pancake breakfast, headed over for one team's pictures then waited for the opening ceremony to begin. I got a great seat in the front and was able to see all the teams parade in and then hear Helaman say the Little League Pledge for the entire league. It was great. He memorized it and said it with feeling! After opening ceremonies we went on to the other team's picture and then off the first game. We picked up the little kids to go with us to the final game of the day and we were FINALLY done around 5:15. Long, but awesome day at the park. I love watching the kids play baseball!!!

Following that weekend I had another round of chemo and just spent the week going to games. We have up to 4 games per week and the older kids play 2 hour games while the younger ones play 1 hour games. It gets a little busy, but this is the kind of busy that I like.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Disneyland

What a magical trip we had. We left on Thursday and drove in a really nice rental van for many hours. The kids did great - it helps have treats, coloring activities, an ipod and a DVD player. We did hit LA around 6 or 7, so we did get experience LA traffic - CRAZY!! I told David multiple times that I was glad we were only visiting and not living there.

We checked into our hotel and then met my parents at the McDonalds across the street from Disneyland. We all ate dinner at 8pm and Grandma and Grandpa gave the kids each a gift - a lanyard with some pins on it so that the next day in the park they could trade pins with others. They also go David and I Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears. I wore mine almost the entire next day while at Disneyland, but David left his back in the hotel room - silly boy!! After dinner we headed up to bed - the kids wanted to stay up, but we knew the next day was gonna be long and encouraged them to go to sleep.

We got up in the morning at 6:30 and then got everyone ready. Then we headed over to the park. We all got there around 7:45 and easily got our tickets and then got to go into the park. The kids were so excited. My dad and I went off and got me an electronic wheelchair and then we met back up with everyone and off we went to experience the Magic! We went on Pirates of the Caribbean first and let me tell you that was really funny! Vilate was scared, Helaman was very nervous and Nephi watched the entire ride through his fingers that were held tight over his eyes. Gloria thought it was kinda scary because (according to her) she thought all the pirates were real and going to kill us - What an imagination!!! Faith and Hyrum, Grandma and Grandpa, and Mom and Dad LOVED IT!!! Following that adventure David and I took the 3 older kids on Indiana Jones while the 3 little ones got to go with Grandma and Grandpa to Tarzan's treehouse.

The rest of the day was spent going on various rides, eating Churros (yummy!!), eating food and treats and just having a great day! At one point we met up with 2 of Dave's sisters and their families - wish we could've spent more time and then we met up with a friend of David's from many years back. It was great to see everyone. I only wish our trip could've been longer so we could have visited more with family and friends.

Grandma wins the award for standing in the longest line. Gloria really wanted to see the princesses and Grandma volunteered to take her. After the longest hour of our lives, I had joined the line about 45 minutes into the wait, we made it in and boy was it worth it. Gloria was so excited to see Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty and Ariel. She went up to each princess and gave them a big hug and posed for a beautiful picture. When waiting to greet the next princess she would bounce and get so excited. It was perfect! Thanks Grandma for waiting in the line!!

While waiting for this line, the other kids went shopping with Grandpa for some souvenirs and then Grandpa went to get Faith a wheelchair. She injured her foot over a year ago and it keeps flaring up - we have since been to the doctor and they have determined that she has too much room between her 1st and 2nd metatarsals and will need to go to Shriners Hospital to get some custom made orthotics. David then pushed her around in the wheel chair for the remainder of the day.

After the "Celebration" parade Grandma and Grandpa took the 3 younger kids back to the hotel (THANKS YOU GUYS SOOOO MUCH!!). David and I got to stay at the park with the 3 older kids and ride some really fun rides. We rode until the park closed and then took advantage of the extra hour that the store were open and went shopping. The girls needed to buy their souvenirs and so did I!!

On our way out to return the wheelchairs (we had 2 at this point - Faith needed one because her foot was causing so much pain) we ran across a little boy and a double stroller looking for his Dad. We took him to "City Hall" and once he was safe with the security guard, we left the park. So sad were we to have to leave, for we had had such a great day. We were all very tired and got back to the hotel to relieve Grandma and Grandpa. Sleep was very welcome that night for everyone!!

The next morning we slept until 9 and checked out of the hotel at 11 then hit the road to drive back home. The trip home wasn't as exciting as the trip there and there was a lot more, "Are we there yets" and "I'm boreds." But we made it and I must admit that it was a wonderful idea for us to go!! I can't wait until we get to go back!!

There are more pictures posted on facebook if you want to view more of our adventure. I am not a huge fan of uploading pictures to blogger - it takes forever and I really get annoyed with formating the writing and putting in pictures!!

Lunch

For my birthday a few friends of mine couldn't make my party so they offered to take me to lunch. We met at Chevys after I dropped David off at school. I took Gloria and Nephi with me and they were pretty well behaved until near the end when Nephi started his acrobatic tricks and making a bunch of noise! Gloria loved eating at a "rest-a-raunt" and visiting with new friends. These women among the women that I really admire and try to emulate. I had a great time - Thanks ladies!!

Off to school

I just took this picture one morning on our way to the car. I was walking behind them and thought they looked pretty cute. Faith is such a helper and is great at getting Nephi and Glo to the car in the morning.

Party time

For my birthday this year there were only 2 things I wanted - and they kinda went together. I wanted to have a birthday party that we could dance at with all the kids and I wanted David to sing to me. I thought it sounded pretty easy and reasonable.

David agreed and my wonderful parents helped to organize it - actually Nancy did most of the work and we got a bunch of friends to pitch in and help with set up and clean up.

The only bummer: I didn't take any pictures!!! Oh I am so bummed!! Anyone with pictures, I would love copies. You can email them to me at kacicox@hotmail.com or you can send in the mail. Let me know if you need an address.

I went to the church in the morning and helped set up. Then I picked up kids from school and we came home and visited with Grandma & Grandpa Cox and Aunt Susi. We headed over to the church and finished setting up and getting the food ready. Then we had to run back home and pick up the kids and headed back to the party. We ate lasagna, salad and bread and had yummy cake for dessert.

The only difficult part of the day was when my dad had to go and have a procedure on his heart. Lucky for us the procedure went well, no problems were found and he and Nancy made it to the party just a few minutes late.

After dinner Jarrod (my brother) sang a song that was beautiful. Then David sang 2 of my favorite songs: "This is the Moment" from Jekyll and Hyde and "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban. It was awesome! I have it recorded on my digital recorder - just have to figure out how to get it on my computer.

Following the singing we danced - well first we talked, then we danced. It was great to see so many people there. I am so grateful to everyone who came and I am SO very grateful to Nancy and my dad and all their planning, hard work and financing. As for everyone who was there to set up and clean up, THANK YOU!! Thanks for making it memorable and fun for my family. The kids had a great time and loved the dancing and singing.

To quote one of my kids (can't remember which one): "That was the best party EVER!!"

Chuck E. Cheese

My sisters came into to town the last week in February with their kids. We all met one day at Chuck E. Cheese with all the little ones - the big kids were in school.

Gloria and Nephi found this horse and wouldn't get off. They absolutely loved it!!! It was their favorite thing and Nephi was so sad when other kids wanted a turn.

Can you tell he was enjoying it?