Reincarnated As A Mother

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fleeing the Coop

Our dear friend Elly took Reese for an afternoon out-
to see the Festival of Trees
 and a real, live reindeer.
Pretty heady stuff for an eight year old.
 Kean on the other hand, has been tired of being cooped up.
We took a walk down to Grandpa Bodily's yesterday afternoon.
Kean made a bee-line straight for the shed that houses-- yep, you guessed it,
the motorized throne.
Luckily, Grandpa Bodily fell for Kean's pleadings and off they
went for a  long ride.
 You can't really tell from the pics, but it was quite cool
and breezy outside.
 Kean came back with a big smile on his face and tears running down
his cheeks from the cold.
Worth every second!!!
Bless that Grandpa Bodily once again!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cancer Perk

Thanks to Kean having cancer doesn't sound quite right.
So I'll say... because Kean has cancer, we've had some
opportunities as a family we'd never have had otherwise.
Case in point, we were invited (with several other cancer families)
for a special afternoon with the Boise State football team.
Byron had to work, so my mom went in his place to help me
wrangle the kids.
 And wow, were we ever spoiled.
We started out with the Assistant Athletic Director in the "film room".
He told us all about the program (did you know BSU has
 won more games than any other team in the country since 2002?
And did you know BSU players are second in the country for academic gpa?).
We even got to watch two short videos about some neat things they do 
as a team.  Kean loved the videos and was clapping wildly at the end of
each one.
 We were then taken on a tour of the entire facility--
and trust me, it is quite impressive.
We started with the cavernous weight training and work out rooms.
 The trainers were there to answer questions and show the kids around.
 We saw where they get massages, physical therapy,
and even the shower room.
Kean was wandering around telling everyone "hi" that he met.
He was a maniac.
But a cute maniac.
 The locker room totally surprised me.
It was really nice and neat.
And get this--- NOT smelly.
They have some fancy ventilation system that sucks air
in and around each locker-- the place smelled great!
Not even a tinge of sweat.
We were so excited to find a locker of a player
named Kevin Keane.
 And guess who we ran into during their scrimmage?
Mr. Keane himself.
He's the "long snapper" and about the nicest guy you'd 
ever want to meet.
 In fact, after the scrimmage, he came over to find his
new little buddy, Kean-- just to give him a fist bump.
 The girls got a trillion autographs.
I was floored at how kind and friendly the boys were.
Kean, my mom and I were just standing off to the side
and we had so many players and coaches come over,
introduce themselves and talk to us.
Some even asked to have their picture taken with Kean
on their phones.
This guy is named Brennyn Dunn.  I had to look him up-- he's a Tight End.
He made out night by coming up to us and remembering our crazy family!
 We had met him last February at the Boise State Dance
Marathon to raise money for St. Luke's.  
The team came out to support the event and Brennan
had swing danced with Reese quite a bit (tossing her up and around).
 He was so cute again with Reese and made her promise
to save him a dance at the next Dance Marathon!
All of these guys were just darling with the kids.
 Finally, we met the head coach, Bryan Harsin and no surprise
here-- he was as gentle and kind as his players.
He totally got into giving Kean fist bumps and high fives.
I think this team earned some life long fans this evening.
We had a great night.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

So Long, Farewell

A pretty emotional Sunday for us around here.
My nephew (the oldest of the Leavitt grandchildren)
had his missionary farewell today.
He will be leaving Wednesday morning for Mexico City
for training for six weeks, then heading to serve in the
Cleveland, Ohio Spanish speaking mission.
  Tonight was our big goodbyes.
And he got some good hugs in with each of the girls.
 Holland was even fighting back tears.
 Okay, I admit, so was I.
We won't see him for two years.
 And a lot can happen in two years.
These girls will all be so changed-- as will he.
Derek will be a fantastic missionary--
and very missed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Perfect Gift

Christmas came early for the Barker boy.
My sweet friend, Heather Davis (who has one of the 
biggest hearts in Idaho) and her children came over with
a big surprise for Kean.
 It took all of us the better part of an hour to put it together--
and I mean all of us!
 When it was done, there was one very giggly little boy.
It is a motorcycle that is just his size.
It is battery powered and goes about one mile per hour.
Thank you Davis family for solving our winter crises.
Kean can now take motorcycle rides in the house
to his hearts content!!!!
I just might be more excited (and relieved) than he is.
As of tonight, this winter sure got a whole lot shorter.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Kicking a Little Cancer Butt

Kean has officially turned a corner.
The worst for this month's dose of heavy Chemo
looks like it is behind us.
And for that I am very thankful.
We are also officially into the power eating stage.
Gotta love those Steroids.
Let's see...
he ate a full plate of bacon, eggs and a bagel.
Two cups of orange juice.
Two pieces of pizza, a bowl of peaches, a handful
of peanut M & M's, two rolled tacos smothered in cheese
and sour cream and a side of beans-- and that was all 
before lunch.
And yet, he's still tiny.
Crazy stuff.
Oh, we received the best news today-
and I mean the best.
Here's the background:
one of our very dear friends, was diagnosed with terminal cancer 
probably a year and a half ago.
After undergoing brutal chemo and radiation at one of our local
hospitals, they told her there was nothing more they could do to help her.
She went to Kean's hospital next and had nearly an identical experience.
They tried and told her they were sorry.
Out of desperation, she went back to a University hospital in Columbus, Ohio
and was thrilled when they agreed to try things no other hospital
felt comfortable trying.
Well, today, she let us know that she just had a clean scan--
meaning no cancer showed up.
Don't ever doubt -- miracles are all around us!
Plus,you know it's a good day when someone kicks cancer's butt!!!
Janice- you are a warrior!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


When will I ever learn to keep my mouth shut
and my thoughts to myself?
So much for Kean feeling good.
It lasted until bedtime and then he spent
much of the night whimpering and acting
like he was in pain.  At 2:45 a.m. he asked me to "hug" him.
I got him up and tried to cuddle with him on the couch
and all he would do was curl up in a ball on my lap.
It is so darn hard to see your baby miserable.
Today wasn't much better.
 Somehow we did make it through both of his Thursday
therapy sessions-- it wasn't pretty but it wasn't too ugly either.
Grammy even came over and spelled me for a few hours.
It was one of those just hold him and try
and comfort him (and let him watched Tangled twice)
kind of days.
Have I mentioned lately how much I hate cancer?
Ten months, ten months, ten months.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Yoga Master

Surprisingly, Kean has handled this round of heavy
Chemo pretty good.  Of course, we're only one day
into it and as Holland pointed out, "yeah mom, but
the Steroids haven't really hit yet".
But I'll take a good day whenever I can get it.
I still get such a kick out of how he sleeps--
all folded over in half.
 I used to "un fold" him but have given up
since he just goes right back into the sandwich position.
And check out this watching Tangled  position.
Wonder if they teach that in mainstream Yoga classes.
 Perhaps he's not getting enough to eat
and those toes are filling in.
Actually, we are back on the Steroid diet--
bacon and eggs for breakfast.
Spinach, cheese and bacon quiche for dinner.
You get the idea.
(Should have invested in Pork Bellies)!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chemo? Check!

Get this.
While I was up this morning getting Kean ready for his big day
at the hospital, his sisters were downstairs making him eggs, bacon
and a bagel.  Doesn't get much sweeter.
(Plus, I think they are trying to earn extra points for Christmas)!
I am happy/relieved to announce that after today, we only
have ten more months of Chemo left!!!
Of course, we'll still be making regular trips to the hospital for tests
for like, the rest of his life... but the hard stuff we hope will be
in the rear view mirror ten months from now.
My mom, "Grammy" was our Chemo date for the day.
She's never, ever gone with us-- after all this time.
So it was a real treat.
We also got to see Jen-- Kean's favorite Child Life Specialist
(her job is to play with the kids)!
And Kean loves her.  He gave her a big kiss (a lick)
on her cheek when we said goodbye.
He won't do that for just anyone.
The good news today?  His counts are a bit better--- not so scary low.
And he didn't kick Dr.Camilo during his thorough examination.
But he did fight and try...
Kean also got to watch his beloved horsey movie:  Tangled.
He is currently obsessed with Maximus.
In fact, I think he was almost oblivious to the nurse hooking
him up for Chemo.  He couldn't be bothered
to tear his eyes away from the screen.
In the background of the picture above, there is a teenage boy
receiving his very last dose of Chemo.  I told him congratulations
but had to stop myself from racing over and hugging him.
All the nurses were so cute with him- they even had made a sign.
Someday, will be Kean's turn.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Hint of the Future...

Today is World Premature Day... and I couldn't let the day
pass without looking back on one of the most miraculous days 
of our lives.
As you know, my pregnancy with Kean was quite problematic
(huge understatement). 
After 75 days on bed rest in the hospital, Kean came storming
into our lives-- without the myriad of problems he was expected to have.
Instead he surprised us with that extra chromosome (Down syndrome).
Now I can easily say he blessed us with his Down syndrome
but at the time it was extremely painful and scary beyond words.
 Our little peanut was just over 4 pounds-- tiny, tiny but
much larger than the doctors expected.
But my, look at how tiny the girls were back then!
 The month and a half he spend in NICU was brutal--
or so I thought.
I've come to realize it was excellent training ground
for what we would face when Kean was two, nearly three.
The ultimate in dress rehearsals!
 In fact, I went back to those early days on my blog
to find these pictures and if you want to get a nice little jolt--
take a read on this old post.
Can we say foreshadowing?

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

It is still painfully cold here-- but that hasn't
stopped the boy from wanting a snow cycle ride
every minute of every day.
His dad did have better luck at getting him to keep his mittens on
(at least for a little while).
 Reese entertained us tonight by putting on Kean's boots,
mittens, coat and helmet and riding his Harley around the house.
Let me tell you- Kean didn't like it one bit!
 What we did all like is Byron's brother's son, Kyle
stopped by and stayed for dinner.
It was so fun to have him  "in da house".
p.s. Kean has heavy Chemo tomorrow.
Jeez, seems like it was just last week
instead of a month ago.
Bring on the bacon.
He starts Steroids again tomorrow too.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Snow Cycle

Those crazy weather guessers.
Our snow didn't go away--
it multiplied!
We had about a foot and a half up here on the hill.
And you know what that means?
The "snow motorcycle" came out!
 Holland (aka Hottie) took Kean round and round.
 And yes, this mother did put mittens on the boy.
And no, he wouldn't keep them on for anything (or anyone).
 Reese and Greer decided to build an igloo.
They didn't get very far--
but did take their lunch out in the snow.
Crazy snow for us here--
but no complainin'.
The kids got their fondest wish-- a snow day!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

White Out

White out should really read as "white in".
Kean and I were stuck inside while
the snow came tumbling down from the sky--
non stop today.
After dinner, the girls and two neighbors
hit the great outdoors.
Byron built a fire to compete with the
24 degrees.
 Those crazy girls (that's Holland) took
turns sledding down the stairs.
Guess the hill isn't exciting enough.
 Reese was the first one in and to call it quits.
She proudly showed off her frozen hair.
Crazy Idaho weather.
It is supposed to be close to 40 tomorrow and rainy.
Guessing the white stuff will disappear for a bit.