Love Letter to Tanner

June 15, 2010

Mothers and Daughters have it tough. Our relationships are not always the easiest. Maybe it’s because our daughters fall too close to home that we find it somewhat easier to parent a boy, or at least I do. But, what I hope Tanner realizes, in the middle of all the mom-daughter tussles, is that I love her completely and really do want the best for her.

The beauty of this blog is that maybe someday she’ll see that. That even though it didn’t always come out right, I was always doing my best and that anything I did came from a place of love.

So, this post is a love letter to Tanner. A letter that she can read when she’s old enough to understand some of the grown-up things I write about here, and old enough to forgive her Mom for the blunders and maybe even understand where I was coming from. But, mostly, for her to see how much — how very much — I love her.

Dear Tanner:

I hope by the time you read this, that this leukemia business is far in our past and we have moved on to arguing about what you will wear to school or whether it’s okay to wear makeup or not. I’m thinking you won’t remember much about being treated for leukemia, but I know it will have shaped who you are. Maybe reading this blog will help you understand some of things you do, and some of the things Daddy and I have done.

I don’t know who you will become, but I do know one thing… you will be strong. You would have been strong before this damn cancer, but after you will be a force to be reckoned with. There will be nothing you can’t do.

Being your Mom is a privilege I wouldn’t trade for all the power jobs or peaceful Saturday afternoons in the world. If it hasn’t always felt that way to you, I apologize. Being a Mom, and maybe particularly a stay-at-home Mom, is decidedly unglamorous. And, I’m a pretty lousy homemaker, so I probably gripe about that part. But, never doubt that I stayed home with you and Jake because I wanted to… desperately. I didn’t want to miss one minute of the wonder that has been you. I didn’t want to look back and have not been a part of all the things that made you grow into the wonderful young woman I know you are becoming.

I’m sure it won’t always be easy for us… we are too alike. You have inherited my stubbornness, which makes us a little like gasoline and matches at times. As long as you can remember that being right doesn’t equal happy (I’m still trying to get that one down), your stubbornness can serve you well. It will help you not give up, but instead work harder than everyone else. And, it will free you to be yourself all the time and not care too much what other people think.

I’m going to try to practice what I’m preaching here and admit that I haven’t always been right when it comes to being your Mom. You are a hard cookie to parent with a strong will, but a bright spot of joy also, and I have often struggled with how to teach you right from wrong without breaking your beautiful spirit. If I haven’t done it right, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to or because I wasn’t trying or because I didn’t care. It was because I am human, and what you will learn someday is that there is no instruction manual for raising a child and we all just do the best we can. In particular, there’s no instruction manual for raising a child with leukemia and few qualified people to ask for advice.

Daddy and I were nearly broken in two when we found out you had leukemia. It was, without a doubt, the worst day of my life. Either one of us would have gladly taken your place rather than watching you suffer so. The physical treatment was hard on you, but it was the isolation that was the really tough thing for you to swallow. You are a social butterfly and love people, so being kept out of school and away from friends and activities was so difficult for you. I know you blamed me for a lot of that, because I was usually the one breaking the news that you couldn’t go to a birthday party, or spend Thanksgiving with family, or go to the beach with your cousins. And, that’s okay. I just hope that one day, maybe when you’re a Mom yourself, you’ll get that being a parent means loving someone enough to let them hate you when you have to. We did everything we could to keep you safe and assure that you had a life to live at the end of this seemingly endless chemo.

When I was a little girl, I thought my Daddy was stronger than anyone. I knew he and my Mom would never let anyone or anything hurt me. I am sorry that you had to learn at age 5 that the bogeyman is bigger than Mommy and Daddy put together. It’s not a fair age to learn that and we did everything we could to retain your childhood, but cancer is ugly and you are too bright to not notice that no one could ever really promise you would be okay. You must have been so scared and I wish I could have made it better.

I want to make sure, more than anything else, that you walk away from reading this letter knowing three things: 1) I haven’t been the perfect Mom, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. It’s not the easiest job, this Mom business, but I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 2) I am prouder of you than you will ever realize. You have been braver, stronger and more poised than I could have ever been in the same situation. 3) I love you… fiercely and completely… just the way you are. And, I always will.

I hope this helps… for you to understand what happened to you, and to our family, many years ago, and for you to realize that you have been all I could ask for from a daughter.

I love you, T.

Feeling Better

May 28, 2010

Tanner slept for 13 ½ hours last night. She woke once for zofran for nausea and once for oxycodone for generally feeling crappy, but awoke this morning feeling pretty good and stayed that way all day. All the same, we slowed it down today. Ran errands in the morning and hung around here in the afternoon, painting and making up Star Wars plays. We ventured outside for about 10 minutes before it rained on us and forced us back inside, which was A-okay. I think some rest was a good idea.

So far so good with the steroids… she usually doesn’t feel bad until about day 3, although generally we’ll see some mood swings and emotional behavior on day two, which will be tomorrow. They’ve upped her chemo again; her counts were at 1700, which is still too high, so they added one pill to her weekly five-pill dose of methotrexate. That puts her at 100% dosage for both 6MP and methotrexate, which is the goal. I don’t expect her to have boatloads of energy or feel particularly well while adjusting to the change, though. Methotrexate seems to have a greater effect on her than the 6MP; in fact, it’s what made her so sick yesterday. Hopefully, she’ll adjust and be feeling good in time for theater camp.

Tanner had strawberries today for the first time in a very long time. She rolled them in whipped cream after dinner tonight and talked about eating strawberries and whipped cream all morning long tomorrow. Sometimes it’s the small things that matter the most.

John and I sat tonight looking at old videos of Tanner and Jake when they were really little. Tanner was so articulate at such a young age that hers are really funny, because you can really understand all the nonsense she is spouting. We laughed and laughed at some of the things she did and then I saw Millie, our beloved and deceased border collie in one of the videos and teared up. Well, once I started I kept on. I sat watching a video of Tanner being hugged by Pluto in Disney world. She is not quite three in the video and has the most beautiful, long blond hair. I found myself crying with my hand over my mouth trying to hold it in. She was so happy and sweet and innocent. John looked at me, puzzled. I just said, “You hope for so much for them when they’re little like that. We just would have never dreamed she would end up with cancer.”

I think, in retrospect, what I was crying about was the innocence of our family at that time. We had so much fun on that trip and we had no reason to ever believe anything but the best would happen for us. Every parent’s worst fear is that something awful will happen to their child. But, for us at that time, and for most people, it is a distant and improbable thought. I think once the improbable becomes reality, you lose an innocence you once had as a parent. Instead, you wake every day thinking that that “awful thing” that once seemed distant, now looms omnipresent in your life. Any day could be THE day, and anything is possible.

Some days, I only think about it for a fleeting moment. Like today, when we were at Sam’s Club eating lunch and Tanner got up to go get some napkins. I watched her as she walked away from our sanitized table and saw her, ever so briefly, drag her hand across another table as she walked by. In that moment, I thought, “Oh please, don’t touch your mouth, please.” Because that germ on that table could be the one her body won’t be able to fight. She didn’t touch her face, and when she returned to our table, I gave her some hand sanitizer and the moment was gone.

Both John and I went through a time when we were mad about that loss of innocence. Mad that we could no longer just send in a donation when we got those St. Jude’s mailing labels and not think about it again until next year. I now see too many children suffering and it is on my mind much of the time. We’re no longer mad about it; we’ve accepted it. But still, it sucks all the same.

I’d give anything to go back to the way I felt at that moment in Disney, but I know I won’t. I know I’ll never look at things the same way, though I look forward to a time when I won’t have to contemplate my child’s life on a daily basis.


Our Last Night

May 14, 2010

We went our separate ways today. We were all planning on returning to the Magic Kingdom to hit all the attractions we couldn’t get to on Tuesday, but I had a feeling that Jake needed a break. So, I asked him this morning, “Jake, would you rather go to Magic Kingdom and ride the Buzz Lightyear ride or go to the pool?” As I suspected, the pool won out. There’s only so much overstimulation a three-year-old can take, particularly one who likes to toodle around as much as he likes a big event.

Tanner, on the other hand, never gets enough overstimulation… bring it on! So, she and John went to Magic Kingdom and Jake and I played around the pool, took a walk on the nature trail, chased some lizards, scared a turtle and, generally, just took it easy. He took a big nap and will be ready for our last day tomorrow at Animal Kingdom!

Tanner and John blew it out at Magic Kingdom. Without Jake and I to weigh them down and with the trusty Wish Button at hand, they tore up the park at lightening speed and returned home in the late afternoon, happy and sated.

As always in the Village, there was a party this evening… a Pirates and Princess party. So, we ate dinner, got faces painted and tattoos sprayed on at the spa and headed over to the pool for a great time. All the kids got to go on stage and be presented as Pirates or Princesses to the crowd and there were some hilarious pirates leading the dancing and fun, not to mention characters from Sea World. Amazing!

So, we’re sad it’s our last night… really sad. This has been such a respite to the drill that is cancer treatment and when we get back, chemo will come back, too. Back to the hospital, to the poking and steroids and… yuck! But, we will have these memories to hold us up for a while. And we can look at the pictures and talk about all the fun we had and thank Tanner for taking us all to Disney for a week… on her.

Tomorrow, we’ll check out and head to Animal Kingdom for our last day of fun. When we leave the park, we’ll head home and get as far down the road as we can before we have to stop for the night. We are welcome back here in the Village anytime we wish – but as day visitors, not overnight guests. And, I think we will come back again, to remember and to continue to thank those who make this gift possible.


HUGE Day!!!

May 12, 2010

Wow! Three little letters to cover such a big, big day! We started with pony rides and complementary cowboy hats and ended with dancing, swimming and a magic show by the Village pool and splash park.

The day started kind of shaky. We went to pony rides and then Tanner said she had to go to the bathroom and threw up while we were in there. I was sure she was developing some kind of stomach virus and that our trip was officially over, but we headed back to the Villa to wait it out and see how she did. It’s not unheard of for Tanner to be sick from chemo and the concoction of other drugs she takes, but it’s not common either. Fortunately, that seemed to be the case, and 45 minutes later, we were on our way to Disney Hollywood.

Awesome stunt from the car and motorcycle show

We met up with Meredith and her parents, Bo and Sara, at Disney Hollywood and had a ball. Jake was in heaven. First, we got to meet some Power Rangers, then the kids got their faces painted and Jake looked like Flash Gordon, then we saw the car and motorcycle stunt show! Race cars, motorcycles and fire!!! Woo hoo! Every boy’s dream.

... and Jake's reaction to the awesome car stunt!!!

Tanner and Meredith had a ball, too. They got to see a High School Musical show and were chosen to dance with the dancers in the parade.

Beauties and the Beast

Again, we were treated like royalty. The fun thing today, though, was that Jake thought it was him that was getting us in to all the rides and shows first. One worker made a mistake and directed all her attention to him instead of Tanner and we all let him have his shining moment. He has also started showing his Wish Button at the entrance gate to the Village and saying, “I got you guys in!” with a huge grin on his little face. In reality, Tanner has the special Wish button that gets us everything, but we’re all wearing smaller wish buttons and we all have special stickers for the Disney Parks that let the workers know we’re with a Wish Kid. It’s amazing how kind they all are. They even let Meredith and her family come to the front of the line with us.

Tanner is feeling better today and coughing much less. I think we’re coming to the end of the virus, so maybe John and I will be able to relax and enjoy ourselves a little more. It’s been pretty unnerving to figure out how far to let her go and how much rest to force. Every time she would have a big coughing spasm, we would give each other a knowing look… the one that says, “This could be bad.”

Tanner and Meredith busting a move in the parade

Spending the day with Meredith let me know how much less stamina Tanner has than a normal kid. There was a parade at Disney Hollywood this afternoon and John and Bo went to get food for us all while the kids and Sara and I claimed a spot to watch the parade. It was hot sitting on the sidewalk and by the time the food came, no one really wanted it too much. When the parade ended, Tanner came to me crying and said she wanted to go home. We carried her (and Jake, who had not had a nap) back to the car. I think the heat really affected her, because after a rest and some food in the cool air conditioning in the Villa, she was ready to go again. But, Meredith and her family stayed at the park, I assume for hours.

We ended the day with a swim in the awesome pool and splash park at the Village. We ate dinner by the pool and then there was a pool party. Sponge Bob was there and Tanner danced and danced, while Jake swam and swam. We came home tired and ready for a good night’s rest.

We’re off to Universal Studios tomorrow. Home of Spiderman (need I say more?), Dr. Seuss and Shrek. Lots of shows and rides. Tomorrow night is Winter Wonderland at the Village… Santa Claus!!!


What is normal, anyway?

April 14, 2010

This may have been the longest I’ve gone without posting since Tanner has been diagnosed… 6 days. It’s weird, but things are so normal I feel like don’t really have much to say. Tanner feels really good and looks really good and, mostly, seems like every other kid.

Then, there are moments when I see our life from an objective viewpoint and it hits me that none of this is really normal… it’s just what we’re used to.

For example, last Thursday night, John was preparing Tanner’s nighttime meds and said, “Good grief, am I right with all this she is taking?” He was staring at our medication spreadsheet, taped to the inside of entire double-wide kitchen cabinet dedicated to medicine, mostly Tanner’s. I usually update the spreadsheet about every 2 weeks, after clinic, to be sure we’re current on everything she takes (really, it’s that confusing), but I’ve been kind of slacking lately with the move and all, and he wasn’t sure what he was seeing was correct. I assured him it was. Thursday night sucks. She takes ½ 6MP pill (daily oral chemo), 5 methotrexate pills (weekly oral chemo), 2 neurontin capsules (for neurapathy due to the Vincristine), mepron (a daily antibiotic that prevents a dangerous type of pneumonia), omnicef (antibiotic for the urinary tract infection), claritin (for allergies), pepsid (for the stomach problems that all these meds cause), and zofran (anti-nausea med to prevent the nausea that the methotrexate usually causes overnight). As you can see, nothing normal about a 6-year-old taking all this, and that’s just her nighttime meds.

Today, I spent hours on the unfortunate task of trying to untangle the last month’s medical bills. All of our deductibles have rolled over, so I’m forced to pay close attention to the bills again to be sure we are paying the correct amount. It’s a nightmare matching up the EOB’s from the insurance company and the bills from doctors and the hospital. In the stack, I came across an old bill that had not yet been filed. It was from one clinic day back in the early November – the dreaded first day of the second half of delayed intensification. We stayed at the hospital from 8 am to 6 pm that day, getting every kind of chemo but the kitchen sink. The bill was a testament to the fortitude of my child, to her desire to thrive and survive. Three pages of chemo, listed on line after line. It reminded me how much Tanner’s body has already endured and worried me about how it will effect her long-term.

Tanner came home yesterday SO excited about a birthday party invitation from a little girl in her class. It is at Jump Zone; and we have not allowed Tanner to go there since diagnosis. She was so hopeful, but also was aware that she might not be able to go. I could see on her face how important it was to her… how desperately she wanted, needed to feel normal… to just go to a birthday party like the other kids. I told her I would have to talk to John that night, as he is out of town. That night, we decided that she could go as long as I stayed and applied some hand sanitizer every once in a while. Tanner was thrilled and accepted our stipulation. She was so funny, though. She said, “Dad’s not coming though, right? Just you? Cause Dad will be so crazy with the hand sanitizer.” I laughed and laughed. She’s exactly right. It will be much less embarrassing if germ-a-phobe Dad stays home (love you honey!). So, we’re so happy she’ll be able to go, but there’s nothing totally normal about your Mom lurking in the shadows with hand sanitizer.

So, it’s not really normal, but it’s cancer normal. And, for cancer world, she’s probably about as normal as possible right now. We’re planning for summer camps and our trip to Disney and the Spring Fling at school. We’re grateful and it’s a relief to not feel like we’re in crisis mode, even if it always seems one fever away. I see things ahead that don’t involve hospitals and isolation, but are just normal things that kids and families do. It’s not normal by most people’s standards, but we’ll take it.

We received some awesome news this week… we can get another dog!!! Yay!!! I don’t know who is more excited, me or the kids. We’ve picked out a dalmatian mix from McMuttigan’s rescue in Kentucky. The trainers are child-testing the dog this week and will let us know if they believe he will be a good candidate for us. He is in a three-month training program in a Kentucky prison and will be trained especially for us, by prisoners, by the time we get him in June. We will also know he has been thoroughly vetted over the past three months, so he should be safe for Tanner. So, cross your fingers that he is bomb-proof; we already feel attached to him. If you’re in the market for a dog, consider this program… it’s such a win-win for everyone. The last time we almost got a dog from this program, the prisoners were pouring extra love into the dog we had picked out so their “little angel” would get the best dog possible. Blessings come from the most unusual sources sometimes.

Sorry for the long post… guess I had something to say after all!

Good night,

Recovering Slowly

March 4, 2010

We got to come home at about 4:30 Tuesday after her transfusion was finished. She felt pretty awful and was coughing almost constantly. We doped her up pretty good that night and she actually slept really well and seemed a lot better yesterday morning. Her fever stayed around until the late afternoon, but finally went away. Her chest was incredibly sore from coughing so much and she cried every time she coughed all day long. Oxycodone is a wonderful thing, but apparently can’t completely fix that kind of sore muscle.
Yesterday was John’s birthday, ending the annual 6-month period where he gets to make fun of me for being older than him. The kids made cards and Tanner got him a Starbucks gift card so they could go together – she for hot chocolate and him for coffee. Jake wrapped one of his race cars, “a gween one” for him and I gave him…. Granite in our new kitchen ☺ We had brownies and ice cream, but frankly, he got kind of gypped out of a birthday since nobody is all that celebratory right now.

Tanner’s still coughing quite a bit this morning. Thankfully, Jake has school today. He is losing it hanging around here without his playmate up to par. School will offer some much needed exercise. Thank you Ms. Julie for giving him some normalcy twice a week.

In between the nursing duties, I’m still packing. Moving day is just 9 days away. As stressful as moving is, at least it is something else to think about and something with an exciting and new aspect to it.

Counting on the IgG transfusion Tanner had to turn things around for us. Hope it delivers… for all of our sakes.


Steroids and Playdates

February 27, 2010

Our new-found freedom has been a little limited by the fact that Jake was sick and I didn’t want to share his germs with anyone else and Tanner being on steroids again.

Jake’s fever broke sometime in the night on Thursday and he is feeling better, though still coughing. Tanner is coughing some and complaining of a sore throat, but it’s difficult to tell what is the steroids and what is her actually not feeling well. She’s handling the steroids very well. She’s been tired (took a 2-hour nap on Friday) and asked to go to bed at 6:30 tonight. That’s pretty typical of steroid week, though.

Although we’ve got this new freedom, we have our eye on the prize and are still being somewhat cautious. School in two weeks, if her counts can stay up. There’s not really anything you can do to affect counts, but getting sick certainly doesn’t help. So, I’m carefully controlling who she sees so we can try to make it the next two weeks without catching anything. She seems more susceptible to getting sick during steroid week – or at least that’s my non-medical opinion.

The kids went to Aunt Beth and Uncle Glenn’s this morning to play and give John and I a chance to get some things done at the new house. Awesome! They had a great time, as always, but Tanner had fallen asleep on the couch while watching a movie and we had to wake her to go home. She rested when we got home and had a much-anticipated playdate with Corinne this afternoon. She was wiped out by 6:30 and ready for bed.

John and I got to spend some time cleaning the construction dust out of the new house and putting together some shelves we bought for the kids’ rooms. The renovations are going well and on target for us to move in two weeks… yikes! So, I suspect we will do lots of packing tomorrow!


Clinic Day #28

Ahhhh… Good Counts

February 24, 2010

Yay! Tanner’s counts were 3,100!!!! Hallelujah! Now, maybe they’re high enough to fight off the virus that Jake has which is causing fever and coughing.

John took Tanner to clinic today, while I took Jake to the pediatrician’s office. It can’t ever just be good news, huh? Jake has a virus and the trick will be keeping Tanner from getting it. Her counts are high enough that she might escape, but we will be extra vigilant for the next few days.

Spoke to John just a moment ago; Tanner was out of surgery for her spinal with methotrexate and was in the recovery room sleeping it off. They’ve planned on a run to Chili’s to pick up lunch. She hasn’t eaten since 2:30 am this morning; we woke her for peanut butter and jelly.

She will restart her oral chemo at 50% dosage and we return in two weeks for a counts check to see if her counts are still high. If they are, they will raise her chemo dosage to try to get her to stay within the 1-2,000 range they are looking for. If they have come down some, that may become her permanent dosage. It’s the Long Term Maintenance Dance where they try to find the correct dosage to suppress white counts enough, but not too much.

John and I laughed about my bad luck. I didn’t go to clinic with them, where normally, we have to hold down Tanner to get her “sleepy milk” for surgery. She gets very anxious about it and cries and begs me not to let them do it, even when she has Versed in her. But, this time, they had a new anesthesia team who hid the sleepy milk from her and gave it to her without her knowing. John said she drifted peacefully off to sleep with no crying.

I, on the other hand, got to take Jake to the pediatrician where I had to… you guessed it… hold Jake down while they did a strep test and nasal flu test. No escape from the screaming and crying and begging for me!

If Tanner’s counts are good at our two-week check, she’ll be able to return to school…. Hoping and praying.


Indoor Fun

February 14, 2010

Tanner and Jake playing wii

How many ways can you have fun while stuck in your house and no visitors allowed? We’ve tried ‘em all… trust me… but have had lots of help from friends.

Thursday afternoon, our dear friend Anna Lynn, who is forever thinking of us, and is forever creative, brought Jake’s valentines from his class to us. He had missed his valentine’s party (and his Christmas party and his Thanksgiving party). His class made valentines for Tanner, too, so we had a lot of fun opening them. She also brought beautiful yellow tulips (that’s so Anna Lynn), valentines from our church staff and sugar cookies with a cookie decorating kit (from another dear friend). We were opening those valentines when I got a text from Tanner’s home teacher, Mrs. O’Hara saying there was a package on the doorstep. It was an early housewarming gift – pots with gardening gloves, tools, seeds and even dirt. How cute!

Friday, Corinne brought home Tanner’s valentines from her class… she LOVED them! There was one unsigned valentine and she’s still trying to figure out who her secret admirer is (I love this!). I opened the door to find another package from Mrs. Wood’s 4th grade class – they have been so super to Tanner – they sent valentines and birthday cards for Jake. So sweet.

We also had valentine packages from some of John’s co-workers and from all the grandparents. It has really helped alleviate the boredom. These days have been hard on all of us, but Tanner is especially frustrated. She had a small taste of freedom and then it was taken away so quickly. She is definitely feeling it.

We had a breath of fresh air Thursday and Friday from Aunt Beth. Beth is one of my two best friends and has been so unbelievably generous with her time. She is my savior when I need to balance the impossible – a child who can’t leave the house and a necessary task that requires me to leave home. Thursday afternoon, she came so John and I could meet with Tanner’s school. Then, she stayed overnight so I could take Jake first thing Friday morning to his annual kidney ultrasound. Jake was born with one kidney and has to be monitored. His one kidney is stellar! Tanner got to stay with Aunt Beth while Jake and I left for several hours and I think Beth must have been totally pretended out by the time she left!

The meeting with the school went great. They were so awesome and are doing anything and everything they can to make sure Tanner will be as safe as possible when she returns to school. She will have her own bathroom and her own computer to cut down on sharing germs. Together, the group of us that met developed a 504 plan. It is a legal document that spells out Tanner’s limitations, outlines what the school will do to accommodate them, and excuses her from normal absence rules, etc. She’s done so well here at home keeping up with her schoolwork, thanks to Mrs. O’Hara. She continually scores at or above grade level.

Thank God we have this new house to go “visit” when we are bored out of our minds and tired of looking at these same four walls. We go jump in the bouncy house and ride the little train and run around in the empty space to get out our ya yas! John went over there for several hours today to put together Jake’s new Batman battery powered ATV. We’ll give it to him tomorrow on his birthday… he will, to say the least, be beside himself. He loves anything to do with cars and motorcycles and asked to have a motorcycle birthday party. Beth and I painted a mural on the wall of his new bedroom with a road coming through a green hill and clouds in the sky. We’ll use the road as a headboard for his race-car bed and put his airplane shelves in the sky looking like a red plane flying out of the clouds (Thanks, Johnny). It has been a rough road for him, too, and he deserves an awesome room.

We all made valentines for each other today and had fun giving them to each other after dinner. The kids and I decorated the sugar cookies for John, but couldn’t eat them after all the valentines candy.

So, we’re stir crazy, but trying to make lemonade, if you know what I mean. Tomorrow is Jake’s birthday. I am sad that there is no one but us to celebrate his day. Usually, we invite family and maybe a few close friends for cake after dinner. He’s too little to really understand the big party is coming. We’re hoping Tanner’s counts will be high enough on Thursday to come to his party, but if not, will have it anyway. He needs to have his birthday… even Tanner said so.

Three years ago today, I was going to bed right about now, bags packed, knowing that I was getting up to head to the hospital to deliver a baby that threatened to be too big if we waited. Jake beat the doctors to the punch and came on his own that day, without induction. So like him to be accommodating. Eight pounds, 15 ounces of beautiful, long, sweet baby boy. John and I knew Valentine’s Day would be forever spent preparing for his birthday and could care less. He is the best Valentine’s gift we could ever ask for.

Much love,

On the Mend

February 4, 2010

Tanner finally is feeling better today. After having spent the last two days pretty much in bed, she got up today and played. The antibiotic that she is on for the ear infection has been pretty rough on her stomach and she still isn’t sleeping well (steroids cause sleeplessness), so we’re all a little tired, but she isn’t coughing as much and had more energy today to play.

We bought valentines today for her class and decorated a valentine box in anticipation of being in school that week (I hope, I hope, I hope). We’ve laid low this week and hope that on Monday we find her counts are up enough to go back to school next week.

Speaking of school, those wonderful kids at Moore Elementary raised more than twice their goal in the Pennies for Patients campaign. They raised $2,042 to help fight leukemia and lymphoma. Amazing! On Monday night, the school board is presenting an award to the school and to another in the district that also did a campaign for a child with cancer there. The principal has asked Tanner to come to the meeting with her to help receive the award. I hope her counts allow it.

She was on the news last week; a story about the campaign. They want to do a follow-up when Tanner returns to school and a local newspaper wants to do the same. Very cool. Tanner will just hate that attention (wink, wink).

We’re in a bit of a rut. I think we’re all waiting for something to happen. I find us watching too much television and playing too much wii these days. I really hope she can go to school next week – she really needs a change of scenery, interaction with other kids and a challenge for that quick brain of hers. And, Jake and I could do some things that he has missed over the past 9 months – the library, his gym class, playgroup, etc. He needs to have more friends his age – boys, preferably. So, I’m looking forward to being able to focus on him a little. He’s turning 3 this month and we’ve planned a fun birthday party at our new house and bought him a much bigger present than we usually buy for the kids. He deserves to be in the spotlight for a day.

We’re hoping to be able to go visit our potential new dog this weekend… in prison! He is part of a prison dog-training program that pairs dogs destined for euthanization and prisoners in a intense three-month training program that teaches prisoners job skills and responsibility and gives the dogs a second chance at life. We hope to end up with a nice, trained dog to complete our family. A dog to take Millie’s place at the end of Tanner’s bed and calm the fears that a six-year-old shouldn’t have. A dog to motivate me to get up and walk in the morning to have some me-time and get some much needed exercise. A dog for Jake to lay on and throw a ball for. A dog to keep John company when he falls asleep on the couch. We can’t wait.

Waiting for lots of good things to happen. Impatient for them to get here.