Thursday, January 31, 2008

Poor Keeghan... and me too!

Well, first off, Kennedy is back full force and she's feeling great. Keeghan is still throwing up a bit. I took him in yesterday because we couldn't get his fever down... and he has a double ear infection. (Bet you didn't see that one coming!) SO since he was throwing up they couldn't do oral antibiotics so he's back to the 3 shots of rocephin... again. 

About 3:00 this morning I came down with the lovely stomach bug. I guess it was bound to happen. Thank God my mom was able to come over and take care of the kids. It snowed last night so they canceled school, so the kids have been cooped up all day. Fun fun! 

Anyway, I took some of Kennedy's phenagren (shhh don't tell) and I feel a little better now, just achy. 

OK that's it I guess. Pray Kass and Kam and my mom don't catch this! 

PS I have about 50 emails in my inbox waiting to be answered! I'm not ignoring you, I'll get there. Promise!

And down goes the mommy...

Kennedy and Keeghan have lovingly shared their stomach bug with me. Must remember to thank them in between puking! Keeghan is at the doctor office with my mom right now, he's still throwing up. Kennedy is MUCH better. Kass and Kam are still holding on... no school today though due to snow so we'll see how long they last. OK back to bed for me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Bloggy Award!

Irene over at Our Little Piece of the World presented me with this award:



Thanks Irene!!!

I now get to pass this award on!

I pass this on to:

Jane over at The Grumpy Family. She has 6 kids, 4 of them with Down syndrome, and she handles everything with such a fun attitude!

Amy over at The Flege Farm. I love reading her posts and seeing her adorable kids!

Laura over at Pember Family. Laura's been one of my longest friends... so hopefully she won't come over here and tell any embarrassing stories about me! LOL

and Heather over at Rice-a-roni-ville. She makes the most beautiful jewelry and is just an amazing person all the way around! Check her out!

A Kennedy Montage

My friend Angie heard the "Braid My Hair" song and made this for Kennedy. Thanks Angie!!! I love it!



Down Syndrome Doesn't Stop Teen from Earning Two Varsity Letters

Brad Hennefer is a high school senior. After playing 4 years of high school basketball, he made the shot of a lifetime. Three seconds on the clock, and a perfect 3 pointer. His parents cheered. The crowd cheered. The team cheered. Even the opposing team cheered. And Brad lived a dream. Now Brad will go on to other dreams, including college.

Sounds typical, yet doctors all over the world say that Brad's life is not worth anything, that he shouldn't even be alive today. They say that "people like him" will have no quality of life. Brad happens to have Down syndrome... and something tells me that Brad, and everyone who witnessed that basketball game, would have to disagree with those doctors.

Read the whole story here

Wordless Wednesday - I am woman, hear me roar!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two down... Two to go.

Kennedy had a pretty bad day again yesterday. She didn't throw up anymore but she slept almost all day and was too dizzy to walk. Today she woke up GREAT and is almost back to full energy! Thank God!!

Keeghan, on the other hand, woke up at 4am puking. *sigh* He's been sleeping a lot and whining when he's awake.

Kass and Kam are still holding out... praying they won't catch it too!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Still pretty sick...

Kennedy is still pretty sick. She hasn't thrown up since before noon yesterday, but she's been lethargic and whiney and slept most of today. She went to sleep around 9:30 last night, woke up at 11:00 this morning, and was back to sleep by noon and didn't wake up again until 3:00. Since then she's been laying around for the most part. She tried to get up and play with Kassidy and Kameron when they got home from school, but she ended up laying on the floor watching them play instead. She fell asleep around 7:30 tonight. I am praying hard this is just a bug and nothing more. The excessive sleeping is how her leukemia symptoms started last February. I'll be overjoyed to see my happy, energy-filled Kennedy back in the morning! Please pray this is what happens! 

Also, please pray for our friend Kayla. She is another one of our Vandy friends and she went home on hospice today. This is such a shock and my heart hurts for Kayla and her family. Please visit her page and show your support if you can. 

I am thankful we ALL got a good night's sleep last night!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My baby is sick :(



Kennedy has spent the whole day just like this. She woke up around 3am throwing up and continued every 20 minutes until about noon today. She slept until 3:00 when she woke up VERY thirsty. I've been giving her one teaspoon of water every 15 minutes since she woke up per doctor's orders. So far she's kept it down... She's sleeping again now. Her temp is over 102 so I guess I'd be sleeping too! Poor kid! This came on so fast, she was feeling GREAT last night when I put her to bed! Please pray this bug leaves her body as fast as it came. I feel so bad for her! Pray that the other kids and I and my mom don't catch it either!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Deployment 2008; Day 30

One month down... 14 to go! Frank is doing well in Afghanistan. He has been receiving some cards from friends and complete strangers, and he says to tell you all thank you!! We thought you might want to see some pictures, so here's a slideshow. If you want to pray for something specific, pray that the clouds roll in so the moon isn't so bright. It's lighting up the area he's in and there's been a couple attacks. No one was hurt, but it is still scary! On the homefront we are all doing fine. Kennedy asks for Daddy quite often lately. I know she misses him. We all do! We got to see him on a webcam last night, so that was fun. Kennedy kept blowing him kisses but she couldn't understand why she couldn't hear him. We need to work on that! Anyway, here are the pics, if you want to pause on one, just click on it.






Click here for more deployment posts

Friday, January 25, 2008

100th Day of School (Part 3)

OK so the kids are seriously on this 100 kick tonight! So they're sitting on the living room floor talking about all things 100. Kameron announces that when he is 100 years old he is going to marry Ashley. (That's another story for another day I think!) Anyway, I told him that not many people live to be 100 and when I married Daddy I was 19 and Daddy was 21. Kassidy pops in and says, "WOW! No wonder daddy is older than you!" (Is it ok to say "duh" to your kids?!) LOL

The 100th Day of School (Part 2)

So today was the 100th day of school (which comes right after the 99th day! LOL). Kameron had a little party in his class and came home all excited about it.

Tonight they were downstairs watching TV and Kam came up and said, "Mommy! Hannah Montana is going to be in the theaters on February first... which is the same day as my snow party at school! Oh... but I guess since Kindergarten's over we won't have the snow party now."

I said, "Kameron, Kindergarten is NOT over!"

He said, "Yes it IS Mom! Today was the 100th day of school! We're done!"

I said, "NO Kam, the school year is still going. On Monday you'll go back to school and you'll still be in Kindergarten."

He thought about that for a minute and said, "Oh... well I hope I still get to go to the same school!"

At this point I just smacked my forehead and he ran downstairs. Kids!

Blast from the Past - Shoulders

I decided that every Friday I'm going to do a "Blast from the Past" post with a story or something that I've written B.B. (Before Blogging). It will help you all get to know us a little better and maybe even give you a laugh or two! :)


Kassidy in Spring 2004


May 4, 2004
I arranged to meet Frank for lunch at the PX (Post Exchange). We have never been there in the middle of the week in the middle of the day before; we usually only go on weekends. The food court was packed with uniformed men and women on their lunch break. We walked in the door and Kassidy's eyes became huge and she tugged on my shirt and said in amazement, "Mommy, there are SHOULDERS EVERYWHERE!"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Keeghan ear update...

January 24, 2008 at 10:17 PM CST 

SO ENT can't see Keeghan until May. MAY! That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! So we're on a waiting list where they will call me if they have a spot open up. Something tells me I won't be hearing from them. In the meantime the new antibiotic he is on is giving him HORRIBLE stomach pains. He's been squirming and screaming almost all day. He's even been refusing food which is SO not like him. I have another appointment for him at 10:30 tomorrow morning. 

Then, just so I wouldn't go a whole day with no doctor's appointments, I got a call from Kassidy's school today and she had an ear ache. SO just to be safe I made her an appointment for this afternoon. The doctor we saw said her ears are fine, did a strep test and that came back fine too, thank God! So he thinks it is just viral. She has no other symptoms... no fever, congestion, cough, nothing. So who knows? The ladies that work at the front of the office were sad I didn't bring Kennedy with me today. She's very entertaining! LOL Guess they'll get to see her tomorrow now!


That's all for now!

Balloons for JuJu


King Julian's balloons


Getting ready to let them go...


Fly away balloons!


Kennedy didn't want to let go.


Fly High King JuJu. We love you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rest in Peace, Sweet Julian

We will never forget you.



Light a candle for Julian

Visit Julian's CarePage

Read more about Julian here... and here...

Keeghan's ears! *sigh*

Well, even after the shots of Rocephin, Keeghan's ears are still infected. *sigh* So he's now on Ceftin... antibiotic number 7 while we wait for an appointment with ENT at Vandy. I'm seriously thinking I need my own parking spot. LOL 

Kennedy had so much fun running around the doctor's office today. She had quite an audience too. There was another family there with a 5 month old little girl with Down syndrome and they were so excited to see all that Kennedy is doing. I hope she was an encouragement to them (although when I mentioned Leukemia I think it scared them a little!)

OK I'll keep you all posted on Keeghan when I hear more. Please remember the Avery family in your prayers tomorrow as they lay King Julian to rest. 


I am thankful for Vandy being there when we need it!

Braid My Hair

This song is by Randy Owen. I promise it will bring tears to your eyes, especially if you've been hit by the world of cancer. I can't wait to be able to braid Kennedy's hair again.



If you like this song you can buy it at Randy Owen's website for $1.99. Part of the proceeds go back to St. Judes.

A clean conversation

Keeghan was taking a nap and Kennedy was watching cartoons so I decided to take the opportunity to jump in the shower. As I was walking up the stairs I heard Kennedy say,

"Mommy?!"

"I'm going to take a shower, Kennedy. I'll be right back."

"Oh... ok." Then I hear the pitter patter of little feet scampering up the stairs after me.

She walks into the bathroom and asks,

"Potty?"

"No Kennedy, I'm taking a shower."

"You poop?"

"No, Kennedy, I didn't poop." (We have a lot of poop conversations in this house.)

"Whhhyyyyyy?"

How do I answer that?!

"Go watch cartoons, Kennedy. I'm going to take a shower."

"Oh... ok!... flush?"

"No Kennedy, don't flush the toilet, the shower's on. Go watch cartoons."

"Whhhhyyyyyyyyyy?"

By now I'm in the shower and she pulls back the curtain letting the water spray everywhere.

"Kennedy, close the curtain, you're getting all wet!"

"Bathy?!"

"Yes, I'm taking a shower, go play."

"Oh... ok!"

Silence... then I hear it... the flush of the toilet... then I feel it scalding hot water!

"Ouch!"

"YAYYYYYY! I do it!!!"

"Good job, Kennedy. PLEASE go play."

"Oh... ok!"

I finally get clean, wrap myself in a towel and walk down to check on her. She comes over, wipes the drips of water off my face and gently touches my hair.

"You wet???"

"Yep, I'm all wet."

"WHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY?"

*sigh*

Wordless Wednesday - I love her cute little face!





(For you RSS feed readers, there's a slideshow here)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This N That...

Hi everyone,

First, please keep the Avery Family in your prayers as they get ready for King JuJu's service on Thursday. They are going through every parent's nightmare right now. My heart hurts so much for them. 

Also, Cody had his biopsy done today and it went well, please pray for results that are manageable! If you haven't yet, please visit his carepage (site name: CodyLee) and let them know you're praying. Thank you to the MANY people who have already stopped over there and left them a message! You guys rock! Kennedy, Keeghan and I stopped by the 3rd floor (surgery floor) today after clinic and got to spend some time with Cody's mom and brother and sister and grandma. They are such an amazing family! :)

OK onto Princess Kennedy. Yesterday she had an appointment with ENT. This was really a catch up appointment since all her check ups went out the window while she was on chemo. They did a hearing test and her hearing is perfect! YAY!!! (I didn't hear half of the things she heard, so I'm thinking maybe I need to get MY hearing checked! LOL) Her doctor did say that her last sleep study (in December 2006) still showed moderate sleep apnea even with her tonsils and adenoids gone. He said if she shows any signs of distress, pauses in breathing or restless sleep to let him know and they would get her back in for another sleep study. However, if her apnea shows to be worse they would either put her on c-pap (oxygen) at night or do a surgery to shave down her tongue and the walls in the back of her throat. (Ouch) So it's going to have to be pretty bad before I take her back! She seems to be sleeping just fine for now.

Today she had her appointment in the hem/onc clinic and that went well too. Her counts look just fabulous and thanks to Julie in Child Life and a big bottle of bubbles, Kennedy didn't even cry when they drew her blood. :o) We don't have to go back for another month now. I have to say, I get so nervous the few days before clinic and analyze everything Kennedy is doing... is she sleeping too much? Crying too much? Are her hands hurting? How long has that bruise been there?! I guess it's normal though. I know God is taking care of her, but I still breathe a HUGE sigh of relief on the way out of clinic! We got to see Tricia (Didn't see Matthew, he was too busy telling Dr. Frangoul all the horrible stuff his mom has been doing to him HA!) and we saw Braxton today. He looks GREAT!

Tomorrow Keeghan has a recheck on his ears. He had a fever tonight so I won't be too surprised if they're still infected. We'll see what his ped says. Other than that he is doing great. He's finally getting a little more independent now that he's cruising the furniture and can find all kinds of ways to get into trouble. He absolutely LOVES watching Kass and Kam play and they know how to crack him up with laughter. It's so cute. 

The big kids are going well. Kassidy's finger is back to normal, thank God and Kameron is his usual funny, crazy self. 


OK I think that's it! I'll update again tomorrow if they decide to do anything about Keeghan's ears.

I am thankful for my mom who spent all weekend with me decluttering and reorganizing my house. It needed it BADLY!

Break my heart why don't you?

This evening the kids were upstairs playing and my mom came over for dinner. When Kennedy heard the door open she came to the stairs as fast as she could and got all excited and yelled, "DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!" Needless to say she was sad when she realized he wasn't here. :(

Then and Now MEME

I was tagged by Kim to do a Then and Now MEME of pics of my kids. Man they are getting SO big! *sniff*

Kassidy - Then and Now:



Kameron - Then and Now:


Kennedy - Then and Now:


Keeghan - Then and Now:


Thanks, Kim! That was fun!

I now tag Renee over at Three Girls and a Few Holsteins
Heather over at Whittaker Woman
and C'est Moi over at The Angel Forever.
I can't wait to see the pics ladies!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Treasure Award

Deb over at Three Weddings or Die Trying passed this award onto me! My first one! (I'm sensing a pattern here! HA!)
Thanks Deb!!! I'm honored! :o)



So, I'm supposed to pass this along to someone else, so I pass this along to Michelle over at My Semblance of Sanity.
Her love for Julian and the Avery family is inspiring.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Love and Hate Meme

Stephanie over at A is for Aiden tagged me with this meme. It's my first one! Woooohoooo!

Here are my loves:

I love that my husband tells me often that he appreciates me and what a good mommy I am.
I love that Kassidy tells me all the time that she's going to be a good teenager. I really need to get it in writing!
I love the way Kameron's mind works. He comes up with the craziest stuff!
I love Kennedy's hugs. Her arms wrapped around me just makes everything perfect.
I love that whenever I sit on the floor, Keeghan crawls over as fast as he can and attacks me.
I love that my mom just spent HOURS with me today reorganizing my house.
I love the smell of sunblock... it means summer is here! YAY! (I know, that one was random!)


And here are my hates:

I HATE spiders and snakes.
I hate that the only thing I can think of right now is that I tell my kids they can't use the word "hate"! LOL
I hate mayonnaise. Yuck.
I hate, hate, HATE, HATE, HATE cancer. Nuff said.

I now tag these friends:

Christina over at Kwisteena's Kwaziness
Bethany over at Life with Bubba and Chicky
Rebecca over at How it Fits
Sarah over at Carrot Tops are Green, Genius!

King JuJu


King JuJu is in heaven... flying high with Cody, Charlie, Chloe, Rayley, Hazel, and the many many other little angels up there. Thank you for praying for him, thank you for praying for his family. Please keep the Avery Family in your prayers as they begin a life without Julian... he's here, just not where we can touch him. If you haven't yet, please visit their page and let them know you're praying. Carepage name: JuliansWorld
Congratulations, Julian! You don't have to hear the word "Cancer" EVER again. We love you.

I am thankful for Julian and the thousands of lives he has touched. I am thankful for Mimi and the inspiration she is to so many.

Light a candle for Julian here

My last post on Julian

Pray for Cody!

 



Cody and Kennedy at Vandy in August 2007. 


OK prayer warriors, one of our friends need you! Cody Robinson is one of Kennedy's Vandy friends. He has osteosarcoma and recently had a CT of his lungs done which showed a 5mm nodule has grown to over 3.1cm. New nodules have shown up as well. Cody's body has become resistant to the chemo he is on, so on Tuesday morning they will do a biopsy of his lung to make sure this is still the same kind of cancer. They will then change his chemo accordingly, but it's going to be really hard on Cody's body. Cody's stepdad is deployed right now and won't be able to come home, so needless to say this is really hard on all of them.

Please pray for Cody that he's not scared. Pray that his body can hold up under this new, stronger chemo. Pray that this chemo works and the nodules shrink. Pray for his doctors as they decide on the best treatment for Cody. Pray for his mom, Jennifer, as she takes care of him. Pray pray pray!! Cody needs a miracle! We've seen it happen before, we know it can happen again. 

Please stop by their carepage and let them know you are praying! His carepage name is codylee. 

I am thankful for Cody, he's such a great kid and loves Kennedy so much! He told me once that when he becomes a dad he hopes he has a daughter just like her!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Kids, Don't try this at home!

So when Kassidy was a baby and we went to Disneyland every week, we bought her a 14K gold Mickey Mouse ring. It was WAY too big for her so we tucked it away until it would fit. I found it yesterday and decided to give it to her. She loved it and it fit perfectly on her ring finger.

This morning I woke up to get the kids ready for school. Kass and Kam were already awake so I told them to come downstairs and Kassidy said, "Mom, can you get this off my finger?"



"Uhhh NO! I can't!!! It doesn't BELONG on that finger!" SO in a panic I called my mom to come stay with the other 3 kids and rushed Kassidy into the doctor's office. They didn't have a ring cutter there so they sent us to a different office where they were able to cut the ring off. They said the swelling should go down in a day or so.



Needless to say, she won't be wearing a ring again until she's engaged!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keeghan and Kennedy update...

Hi everyone!

Just a quick update... I had to take Keeghan to the doctor a couple hours ago and he has (surprise, surprise) another ear infection. *sigh* He JUST ended his last round of antibiotics a couple days ago so he's back to the 3 shots of rocephin again. I'll need to take him tomorrow and Saturday afternoon for the other two. He has now been on a 10 day course of Amoxicillan, 10 days of Omnicef, then 3 shots of Rocephin, then two 10 day courses of Augmentin and now we're back to the shots again. Dumb ears! His left ear is clear right now but his right ear is pretty bad. That's been the worst one the whole time. The doctor we saw today said we need to schedule an appointment with his pediatrician the beginning of next week for "the tube talk." *sigh* At least tubes will take care of this for good! (I pray!)

Kennedy is doing well, we will be at Vandy twice for her next week: Monday for an ENT appointment (too bad they can't see Keeghan too!) and then Tuesday at the hemonc clinic to get her counts checked. Please pray those both go well.

Please continue to pray for our little friend Carson as well. His mom set up a caringbridge page for him so please go check it out and let them know you're praying! I know it means a lot to their whole family as they are facing lots of unknowns right now.

I am thankful our pediatric's office has an evening and weekend clinic!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So sad...

I feel so bad for this mother, I cannot even imagine the extreme guilt and sadness she is feeling. She dropped her 6 year old son off in the car circle at school, but when he closed the door the strap to his backpack got caught and she pulled away from the curb, not realizing her son was there, and dragged him several feet. He was taken to the hospital where medical personnel worked on him for hours but he passed away from the injuries.

Please keep the family of Tavien Epley in your prayers.

Read the whole story here.

Deployment 2008; Day 20

So here's our 10 day report on how we're all doing. Frank is settling into a routine in Afghanistan now. He's working nights and since we are in different time zones we end up going to bed at the same time... 11PM here and 9:30AM there (I think). We get to talk online before we go to bed, which is nice. We can catch up on our day and talk about the kids. One of his friends had internet installed in their room so Frank gets to use it for free! YAY!

The kids are doing ok, we're settling into a routine here as well. Kassidy is a big help with Kennedy and Keeghan. Kameron helps sometimes too, when he's not too distracted by TV, or a book, or his iPod, or the spot on the ceiling. HA! I'm glad they have school to keep them busy during the day.

20 days down... just over 14 months to go. Can we do it?! Yeah... I think so! :o)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - This is what a teething baby looks like...

Family update

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates... I've been lost in blog land. LOL Everything is going ok here. Kennedy has been kind of off today, don't know if she's getting sick again or what, but I'm hoping tomorrow is better!

Kassidy and Kameron went to the dentist today, no cavities! YAY! But Kass' 6 year molars that are growing in (and causing some pain in the process) are missing some enamel, so she goes back in a few weeks to have a sealant put on. This means no more chewy candy or gum for her ever. She's not too happy about this! I guess it can pull the sealant off.

We found out on Friday that Keeghan has a NOT cancerous tumor on his chest called a solitary mastocytoma. We actually noticed it first when he was a couple months old and his pediatrician said she'd keep an eye on it, then when we saw a different ped on Friday to check his ears he told me what it was. Actually he told me he had a tumor and didn't bother to add the "not cancerous" part until AFTER I turned white as a sheet. I thanked him for that @@. There's nothing we need to do for it, except not rub it because then it gets all blistered up and can release allergens into his system that can cause all kinds of problems, but besides that, it's harmless. Yeah.

So let's see, what else? Frank's doing well, he's FREEZING, but he's doing well. One of his friends got internet access hooked up right in their room so Frank gets to use it for free! YAY!

Kass and Kam both got their report cards last week and did just fabulous! Kassidy got straight As and Kameron mastered all his skills (they don't do letter grades in Kindergarten). We couldn't be more proud!

Keeghan is starting to cruise the furniture. He won't listen when I tell him to sit down and be still! HA! He's in such a hurry to grow up... speaking of which he is 4 pounds away from outweighing Kennedy! He weighed in at 18 lbs 8 oz last week.

Kennedy goes back to clinic Tuesday to get her counts checked. Pray pray pray they come back good!!!

Speaking of prayer, my friend Kayla just found out her son Carson's tumor has returned. I'm not sure what it's called, but it's near his liver and needs to be removed ASAP. I think they're going to do his surgery next week at St. Judes. Carson has Down syndrome like Kennedy and was born with this tumor. They removed it once and thought he was in the clear. IF there are no cancer cells outside the tumor he will NOT have to do chemo, so that's what we're praying for and would appreciate it if you all could pray too! I don't think Carson has a carepage or anything but if they start one I'll let you know.

Also, check out this blog: Confessions of a CF Husband Nate is the author, his wife, Tricia, has Cystic Fibrosis. She was on the wait list for a double lung transplant when she got pregnant. The doctors told her to abort, they said no. Due to health complications, baby Gwyneth was born at 25 weeks gestation. She is a week old today and so so beautiful. Tricia is coming out of a medically induced coma, slowly. She has a long road ahead of her. They are an amazing Christian family and can use lots and lots of prayer. Check them out, you'll fall in love.

As for me, I'm doing well. We're settling into a routine here which makes things much easier. My mom is going to come over this weekend and we are going to tackle the kids play room and get it back into order. I think once that's done I'll have the motivation to de-clutter the rest of my house. Again. Is it Spring yet?! I'm ready for a good dose of Spring Cleaning!

On that note, I'm tired, the kids are sleeping, the house is quiet, so I'm off to bed. I'll update again soon, but until then you can check out my blog, there's lots of cute pictures, stories and other fun stuff on there.

I am thankful for my kids.

A trip to the dentist

Kassidy and Kameron both had their 6 month check up at the dentist today. They both have gone twice a year since they were 2 years old. I haven't been since... 1998. I have a serious fear. The last quack hurt me BAD. One day I need to go back... one day. Anyway, at least my kids will have good smiles! :)

Clarksville Pediatric Dentistry is so cool! It's a place for kids only and the waiting room is stocked with video games, hdtv set to Nick Jr, and lots of toys. When you go to the back, there are TVs on the ceiling above each chair with waiting headphones to listen to while your teeth get cleaned. I only know this because I'm allowed to go back with Kennedy for her visits. The older kids go alone... it makes them feel independent. They love it. The staff is great with them and always lets us know they are praying for Kennedy and our whole family. They make us feel special.

So, the kids' visits went great! No cavities! YAY! However, Kassidy's 6 year molars are coming in (2 years late) and they are missing enamel. They said this will cause her teeth to be prone to cavities and make them very sensitive so they recommend a sealant. She goes in 3 weeks to get this put on. They're going to use laughing gas on her, so I really hope they let me go back for it. I wonder if they'll let me bring my video camera?! HA! The only bad part about it is they said she won't be able to chew gum or any chewy, sticky candy. Ever again. They said it would pull the sealant off. Kass is not real happy about this... what kid would be? Oh well, it could be worse! Oh yeah, they also said she'll definitely need braces. Guess I better start saving now!

Oh and her dentist asked if she had a lot of high fevers when she was 2-3 years old and I said she did, she had constant ear infections around that age. She said that, with all the antibiotics for the ear infections, caused this missing enamel problem. So... I'm expecting Kennedy will have the same thing. Who knew?!

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Well it's a tumor"

There's a phrase you never want to hear from a doctor, especially when it's regarding your child and especially when you've been submerged into the world of cancer already!

Keeghan has a spot on his chest that showed up when he was about 2 months old. Sometimes it blisteres up and bothers him, other times it's just there. His pediatrician said we would keep an eye on it and we left it at that.

On Friday I had Keeghan seen by another doctor for an ear check and he asked about the spot, I said that we didn't know what it was and that his ped was watching it and told him about it.

"Oh," he said, "It's a tumor." Before I passed out cold he quickly said, "But it's not cancerous!" I think a few minutes later I was able to breathe again.

So this spot that he has is called Solitary Mastocytoma. The doctor said it SHOULD go away on its own, but we should avoid rubbing it as it can release allergens into the blood that can cause problems. So I said, "You mean we can't sit around at night and rub Keeghan's spot for fun anymore?!" Then I think HE was going to pass out! LOL "Kidding," I said, "Just kidding." WOW how warped my sense of humor has become!

See the spot in the middle of his chest? It's not too bad right now, but you should see it when it get irritated. NOT pretty! He said if Keeghan gets more of these spots we'll have to go see dermatology. Why can't life just be boring?!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My kids rock!

On Friday, report cards came out... I have to admit I was a little nervous about Kassidy's math grade, she's struggled a bit this last quarter... not because she doesn't know her stuff, she does; but come test time she is famous for making senseless mistakes or just skipping problems altogether. I've wanted to strangle her a few times! BUT somehow she pulled it off!



Kameron, being in Kindergarten, doesn't get letter grades this year. They grade on whether the child has mastered all the skills that have been taught. If they get an X it's been mastered, if they get a / it has not been mastered, if it's blank, it has not been taught. SO look at all the Xs!!!



Yep, my kids rock! And they each got $5.00 out of the deal... and coupons for free ice cream and kids meals at various fast food places... that they wanted to use all in one night! HA!

Vote for Nick and Cassie!

OK all you out there in blog land! My friend's brother-in-law and his fiance need your help! They are in a contest for a $6,000 wedding dream package! If you can take a sec and go vote for them it would help them have the wedding of their dreams! You can vote once for each email address you have and you don't have to register or anything, it seriously takes 5 seconds! THANKS for helping!!

PLEASE VOTE FOR NICHOLAS LAUVRAY & CASSANDRA HUMMELL

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sisterly Love


The other day Kennedy was playing with her babies and like all good little brothers, Keeghan kept trying to take them away from her and chew on them. Kennedy kept yelling at him, "NO! MINE!" and snatch the baby away. Keeghan then left that baby alone and went after another baby. Finally Kennedy grabbed her baby, went over to the baby gate and opened it, went to the other side and closed it and looked at Keeghan and said "Ha ha!" She then sat there playing with her doll just out of Keeghan's reach with a HUGE smile on her face!

Divorce rates lower among parents of children with Down syndrome

Jan. 8, 2008
For Immediate Release

For More Information
Craig Boerner
615-322-4747
Craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Nashville (Tenn.) - Vanderbilt Kennedy Center researchers are reporting slightly lower divorce rates for families raising a child with Down syndrome than in the comparison groups, following an examination of the Tennessee Department of Health’s birth, hospital discharge, and divorce database records from 1990-2002.

The population-based study published in the American Journal on Mental Retardation by VKC investigators Richard Urbano, Ph.D., and Robert Hodapp, Ph.D., showed divorce rates were lower (7.6 percent) for families of children with Down syndrome as compared to 10.8 percent in the population group with non-disabled children and 11.25 percent for families of children with other congenital birth defects.

Lower divorce rates in the Down syndrome group may be due in part to what the researchers call the “Down syndrome advantage,” which refers to the personality and behavior of most children with the syndrome and the fact that parents of children with Down syndrome are often older, more educated, and married before having children.

“When divorce did occur in the Down syndrome group, however, a higher proportion occurred within the first two years after the child’s birth,” said Urbano, who serves as VKC’s director of Evaluation and coordinator of Research Databases.

“Mothers and fathers of children with Down syndrome were more likely to divorce if they were younger, had not graduated from high school and if they were less educated and lived in a rural area.”

Researchers compared 647 families who have children with Down syndrome, 10,283 families with children with other developmental disabilities, and 361,154 families with children who did not have any disabilities.

Urbano said the findings would be helpful in counseling parents of newborns with Down syndrome about the risks for marital discord during the first few years after a child's birth, and also in developing special programs for families in rural areas.

Hodapp is a VKC professor of Special Education, co-director of the Family Research Program and director of Research.

A Kennedy Update

So Deb over at Three Weddings asked how Kennedy was doing, and yes, she does have a CarePage with the site name KennedyGarcia but yes, you do have to sign up. SO for anyone out there who doesn't want to mess with another password, here's the latest in a nutshell.

Kennedy is still in remission from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Her chemo ended on September 17. She's been doing pretty well since then, she got adno-virus right before Christmas, but she fought it off well. The only ongoing problem has been constant diarrhea full of mucous (sorry, TMI this early in the morning, I'm sure!).

On January 3rd she had a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy to see if there was a cause for it. They found quite a bit of compacted stool that they said the diarrhea was coming out around, so we flushed her with miralax and she exploded, of course. Now that she's all cleaned out though her GI wants me to continue with the Miralax twice a day (that's twice the adult daily dose) so I'm currently waiting for another explosion. We'll see. I just have a bad feeling more is going on that we realize. They also tested her for Celiac's Disease since she has the gene for it but that came back negative, thank God!

As far as her leukemia, we go to the hem/onc clinic once a month now to check her counts and just make sure everything looks ok. We just pray hard she will never relapse.

There's my nutshell! LOL For (more) detailed stuff, feel free to sign up for her carepage, it will email you each time I update.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A new blog, A new kid, A new prayer



So during my random blog surfing a few days ago I ran across the blog of a family with an 11 year old boy named Keeghan. Of course I had to stop and read, he has one of the 4 coolest names EVER! They even spelled it right! HA!

Anyway, Keeghan has cancer. He has a brain tumor called Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Recently his family found out his tumor has returned and now they are having to make decisions on the next step in Keeghan's treatment. I know this has to be so hard for his parents, Mike and Shannon.

So here is my plea to all you prayer warriors: Go check out Keeghan's blog Mad World!. Pray for him and his family. Sign the guestbook and let them know you're praying! Read The Beginning. It talks all about how Keeghan was diagnosed. You'll find yourself laughing through tears as you get to know this wonderful family.

Thank you for praying! To us families in the cancer world, it means more than anything.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kennedy update...

Sorry, I meant to update yesterday and the night just got away from me!

So... the great news is, Kennedy does not have Celiac's! YAY!!!! So no gluten-free diet for her. She does have the gene and her GI said she will probably develop it at some point, but hopefully not for a long, long time!

Even with all the exploding she has done, Dr. Arthur still wants me to pump her full of Miralax. She had a full capful (which is the adult daily dose) once last night, then once this morning, then she'll get it again tonight and 2 times tomorrow. THEN she'll be on one teaspoon of Milk of Mag 2 times a day after that until I call her back next Wednesday... if there's anything of Kennedy left by then. She's already lost 4 pounds in the last month from all the pooping and anyone who knows her knows she really can't afford to lose much weight! AHHHHH

OK Vent over. Just pray this is the right thing for her. It worries me.

I finally got Christmas pictures up on my blog so be sure to check them out. I broke them down into two slide shows since there were so many, so scroll down a bit to see them all.

Please remember our friend Erica and Julian (cp: JuliansWorld) in your prayers every day!

I am thankful for all of you who read these updates and prays for our whole family. We appreciate you all, whether we know you personally or not!

So I'm sitting in my basement...

A couple tornados were spotted a few streets over from my house... my oldest 2 kids are at school and Kennedy and Keeghan are looking at me like I'm insane. Anyone see Desperate Housewives lately?! I HATE tornados! Pray we are all safe please!!!!

Update 1:21... we're safe and the sky is clear! The tornados are moving into KY so please pray for the people there. I've heard there are downed trees and power lines here, but not much more.

Update: 2:10... Another storm headed our way...

Update: 4:50... seems to be a false alarm, all is well here!

Christmas Pictures, Part 2

These pictures are from Christmas morning... obviously! LOL The kids had so much fun, even though I had to wake Kenn up and carry her downstairs!





(For you RSS readers, there's another slideshow here!)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas Pictures, Part 1

Here are pictures from when we did Christmas with my mom and pictures from Christmas Eve. Kennedy was not feeling well at all, poor kid. Pictures from Christmas morning coming soon!



Well it finally happened...

I knew it would happen eventually, I was just figuring it would be more like 4 months from now. I was at Wal-Mart today, Keeghan was sitting in the front of the cart and Kennedy was in the back. We were picking out some Gerber meals for Keeghan when a lady walks by and says....

"Oh how cute! Are they TWINS?!"

Uhhh... no. "Nope, they're not," I reply with a smile. I go back to my browsing...

"Oh well they must be awfully close!"

*sigh* "Actually they're 3 years apart..."

(insert shocked look here)

"Ohhh... well... they're adorable!"

Uh huh. "Thank you."

Sooo any guesses on how many times I'll hear this in the next year?!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to school!

*Whew* OK So Kass and Kam went back to school today! YAY!!! Kameron said his ear still hurt a little, but not too much and Kassidy felt good, so off they went. Kameron needs to get back in the swing of things... he said he got in trouble for talking without being called on and not coloring nicely so he didn't get his end of the day stamp. SO we talked about what he SHOULD have done instead. Then just as we got home Frank called to talk to the kids so Kam told him about his day and Frank said something to him about it and Kameron said "WHATever!" HA! Glad my talk with him sunk in!

Kennedy... well... let's just say she has to be about 5 pounds lighter after the last couple days. I think I'm on diaper 26 since Saturday night. I'm HOPING things are slowing down now. Funny thing though, I didn't even get a chance to use the miralax, she exploded without it. Still no word on her test results.

Last night she fell in the living room and started crying really hard. I didn't see it happen but I scooped her up and was rocking her trying to figure out what hurt when this horrible mark showed up out of nowhere right on the bridge of her nose. It's pretty ugly... I'm glad we're not going to get pictures done any time soon! Hopefully it won't scar... she has enough of those to last a lifetime!

Keeghan went back to the doctor today for his ears and can you believe they are STILL not clear?! So he's back on antibiotics for 10 more days. He and Kennedy both got their second flu shots today as well. Neither one of them cried! Kennedy said "OWIE! Stop it!" and Keeghan just wimpered a little but was all smiles as soon as I picked him up :). Kassidy still needs her second one... it's not going to go over so well, let me tell you!

Frank is still doing well in Afghanistan. He's adjusting his sleep schedule from nights to days right now so he was pretty tired when he called earlier. Hopefully he'll get used to it soon.

I guess that's it from me! All 4 kids are sleeping so I think I'm going to head to bed myself. Thanks for praying, always! (Those Christmas pictures are REALLY coming soon!!)

I am thankful for the warm weather! It was 70 here today! WOOOHOOOO

My Sweet Girl...


Just missing her beautiful hair today... can't wait till it grows back!


Photograph copyright Jamie Wright Photography

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Deployment 2008; Day 10

Things are going ok here. The kids miss Daddy, of course. Kennedy still doesn't get it. She asks for Daddy a lot. While he was in Kuwait they got to do a voice chat and see him on a webcam. They all thought that was pretty cool. Since then they have talked to him on the phone once and Kass and Kam have written him letters which I WILL get to the post office this week sometime. (I'm totally the WORST procrastinator when it comes to the post office and the bank!)

As for Frank he's doing well over there. He will be working nights which is a good thing because he'll be on the same schedule as us. He'd rather sleep during the day anyway. He is set up in an open room in a big building with lots of other guys but he said they use their stuff to kind of build walls up so they have some privacy. They can still hear each other's music and stuff though. I told him it was a good thing he's working nights so the rest of the guys don't have to hear him snore! LOL Can you feel the love?

My stupid Disney vacation ticker wasn't working... I don't know if anyone even noticed it below my blog roll over to the left. I'll have to find another site that has them and try that. We are SO looking forward to May! :)

Edited 7:35PM
Thanks Shannon for the advice on the ticker!


MySpace Countdown

Forgiveness

As a person, there are several things in my life that I struggle with. As a Christian it drives me crazy that I struggle with these things. Then I remind myself that even as a Christian, I'm still a person. (Still following me?) Sometimes though, I think we (as a society) use the "I'm only human" line as a cop-out. "Well, yeah... I lied, but I'm only human." "Oh yeah I did cheat on that test, but it's not my fault, I'm only human." The thing is God holds us (as Christians) to a higher standard. Yes, we're still going to fall short, none of us are perfect, but we must strive to live for Him and do the things we know are right.

Why is it then, that even when I KNOW what I'm supposed to do, I just can't seem to get my heart in the right place? Right now I'm talking about forgiveness (check back tomorrow, it may be something different). Under most circumstances I am a very forgiving person. Sometimes I can be too forgiving. Frank tells me all the time that I let myself get walked all over, but I can't help it. I believe in a God of second chances so why should I not extend that same courtesy to others? However, in most cases the other person WANTS to be forgiven. We talk, we work things out, they are repentant (and let's face it, 9 times out of 10 I need to be forgiven as well) and we forgive and move on. Sounds so easy.

Now though, I'm dealing with a different story. I'm dealing with a person (people) who have hurt me so deeply, to the very core of who I am, without warning, without provocation, without merit. And now, the thing is, I can't forgive. I can't move past this. I'm angry. Beyond angry. I'm hurt and appalled and it kind of makes me feel sick. And honestly, right this minute, I don't WANT to forgive. I don't WANT to move past it. I want to tell this person (people) exactly what I think of them and I don't want to hold anything back. Ouch. And then there's God who is gently reminding me to turn the other cheek, to forgive 70x7. I know that's what I'm supposed to do, so why am I so conflicted? My heart and my brain are at war. The Christian side of me and the human side of me can't come to an agreement. If I were a cartoon you could see the little angel and the little devil, one on each shoulder whispering in my ear, telling me what to do. I know which one I WANT to listen to, but man, it's hard.

So, there's my mindless babble for the day in all it's glory. It's not pretty, I know, but it's honest and true and one day I know that I will move on. One day I will forgive even though I will never forget. My heart, no matter how broken, always seems to win over my mind. Hopefully that time will come soon.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Down syndrome fights cancer!

Tom over at Random Thinking posted this article found at WebMD. It talks about a gene called Ets2 that seems to help reduce the cancer rates in people with Down syndrome. Because this gene is located on the 21st chromosome, which people with Down syndrome have 3, they have extra Ets2 which tips the balance and turns it into a cancer fighter. This could lead to drugs to fight cancer in the future. As one researcher said, if Down syndrome did not exist there would have been no point to doing the over-expression research on Ets2 and an exciting potential treatment would have been missed. And we will all owe a debt to people with Down syndrome if a drug is developed from this research. How's that for cool?!

Sick Kids...

Well, the big kids caught the crud. Kassidy's eyes started getting all red on Thursday which is what happened with Kennedy and Keeghan about a week ago. Then last night Kass started getting a headache and this morning she woke up with a slight fever and a sore throat. About an hour later Kameron started crying saying his ear hurt, so off to the doctor we went! Thank God for weekend clinics! By the time we got to the doctor Kam's eyes were bright red too.

Kassidy and Kameron both have the adnovirus that Kennedy had and Kameron has a double ear infection on top of that. The virus just needs to run its course but they gave me Augmentin for Kam's ears... which is the same medicine Keeghan will be finishing tomorrow for HIS double ear infection!

The kids are supposed to go back to school on Monday so please pray pray pray that they feel better by then! They are both bored and ready to see their friends! Pray also that they don't pass this bug back to Kennedy and Keeghan. We need it out of our house! I'm thinking we'll probably miss church again tomorrow... guess we'll have to do a little Bible study here.

No word on Kennedy's test results yet of course, but I will update when I know anything. Frank is doing well in Afghanistan. He said it's cold there but not as cold as he thought it was going to be. In fact, it may be colder here. It was 9 degrees here on Wednesday morning. So much for global warming! HA!

Still no Christmas pictures, but I really promise they are coming soon!

I am thankful for weekend clinic and thankful that the kids ped happened to be there today. She takes such good care of our whole family!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Home from Surgery

Thank you for praying! Kennedy's surgery went well. She woke up great, drank a lot and we were out of there quickly, which is always nice! Her GI said that she has a lot of compacted stool in her... which is crazy since she's been having massive diarrhea for the last few months! She said that the diarrhea has been coming out around the blockage. SO she will go back on Miralax, which just seems insane to me. Let's give a child with diarrhea a laxative. I mean, I get it, really. It's just the whole concept of it... and the fact that she's REALLY going to explode scares me! LOL

She also said that part of her intestines look rough... I can't remember her exact words, but basically it doesn't look like it's supposed to. She took biopsies and we'll get the results in a week. She's thinking it's very possible that she has Celiac's Disease. We knew this was coming, they told us it was going to happen eventually but we were hoping it would be YEARS from now. This means she will have to go on a gluten-free diet (no wheat, rye or barley). We actually had her on this diet last year with the reasoning that when she DID end up with Celiac's we wouldn't have to pull all her favorite foods away from her, but when she got Leukemia and had to go on a neutropenic diet we let her eat gluten again because otherwise she'd never be able to eat anything! Now of course she's loving her chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and bread again so it's not going to be a fun transition! I guess we'll find out for sure next Wednesday.

Keeghan had a good time playing with his friend Ben... and I think Angela realized she NEVER wants twins! LOL Thanks Angela for keeping him for me! Kass and Kam had fun at the airport with my mom and have been bothering... I mean bonding with... my brother and his girlfriend all afternoon. :)

I posted more pictures on my blog just a few seconds ago. These are from the Gilda's Club Christmas party. Pictures from Christmas coming SOON, really!

Thanks so much for praying!

I am thankful for the staff in the PACU (recovery room) at Vandy. They know us by name now... which is scary... but they take SUCH good care of Kennedy!

The Gilda's Club Christmas Party

On December 13th, Gilda's Club put on a Christmas party for kids with cancer in the Middle Tennessee area. The party was held at The Adventure Science Center which is SUCH a cool place!! The kids all had a blast! Thanks, Gilda's Club, for a fun evening!!!




(For you RSS readers, there's another slide show here!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We pray you all had a fun safe New Year's Eve! The kids and I went over to my mom's for dinner and then came home and watched TV until midnight. Kameron (who fell asleep at 11:45 the last 2 years) made it to midnight this year! The rest of the kids did too. We drank sparkling cider and then Kennedy stood up, stretched, yawned, and said "mornin!" (Her way of saying "See you in the morning!") and put herself to bed. I guess she figured the party was over! LOL

Tomorrow is Kennedy's first (and hopefully ONLY) surgery of the year. She goes in for an endoscopy at 2pm. We have to be there at noon, so if you're hanging around Vandy, feel free to stop by the 3rd floor and say hello! They are hoping to find a reason for her diarrhea... and I'm hoping they DO find something so we can get it fixed, but pray it's something easy and not serious!

Kassidy and Kameron will be going to my mom's tomorrow and they will head to the airport to drop my dad off so he can fly back to California and then an hour or so later my brother and his girlfriend will be flying IN from California. Keeghan is going to hang out with my friend Angela and his buddy Ben and HOPEFULLY be a good baby! Have I mentioned lately that he's a HUGE mama's boy... and really spoiled? (Sorry Angela!)

We all got to talk to Frank tonight and he's doing well. He is in Afghanistan already and he said it's not as cold as he thought it was going to be, so that's a good thing! Several of you have asked for his address to send him care packages, so if you would like that, please email me and I will send it to you. I know he would love to get cards, letters, junk food or whatever!

There are some new pictures on my blog so feel free to check them out. There are some pictures of Kennedy and Keeghan from the Sesame Street Live show we went to and further down are pictures of Kassidy and Kameron when they went out by the river to look at the beautiful Christmas lights. I'm still working on Christmas pictures and pictures from the Gilda's Club Christmas party, but I'll get there eventually!

Thanks for praying for Kennedy tomorrow! I will update when we get home.

Until next time,
Renee

I am thankful that Frank arrived safely to his destination!

Sesame Street Live

So I'm catching up on pictures, bear with me! (If you're reading this on an RSS page, there's a slideshow here.)

In November, Make-A-Wish offered us free tickets to Sesame Street Live. We of course took them up on it! My mom, Kennedy, Keeghan and I went to Nashville a few days later for the show. Oh my goodness, what a fun night! We had front row seats right next to another wish family and Kennedy was completely star struck! It held Keeghan's attention better than I thought it would too! Such a fun show! If it's coming to your area and you have little ones, be sure to check it out! Thank you Make-A-Wish!!!



My RSS Feed

Apparently my RSS feed has been messed up for awhile now. I tried to add a feature to the blog and it messed everything up! SO sorry for those of you who have to play catch up now, but I really hope you'll take the time to go back and read. I promise I'll leave everything alone now! LOL

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I can't believe...

"I can't believe he can laugh without teeth."
- Kameron (while we were playing peek-a-boo with Keeghan)

We found Jesus!

I don't know where he's been hiding, but Kennedy walked downstairs with Baby Jesus a few minutes ago :). So... we found Jesus in 2008! What a great way to start the year! LOL

(For you newcomers to the blog, refer back to this post.)