Friday, July 31, 2015
If you have followed this blog for any amount of time
you'll know that Reese often gets the short end of the stick.
I have this Mommy guilt-- if Kean is sick, I'll tell her
to go play quietly while I deal with him.
Her birthday's have followed suit.
We've cancelled a birthday party, held
an extremely small one in an extra room in the hospital
and if I'm being honest, for the parties we have had,
they have been as easy as I could make them.
This year, I decided to try and make up for my
short changing her (and the fallout from Kean's cancer).
We sent out invitations for her friends to come to
Barker Spy Training Academy
(they even had to have a secret password to get in).
Once at the party, they got their "dossiers"
and had to make their Spy Identification cards- complete with
fingerprints, height, weight, photos and an undercover name
(Reese's was Mimi Skyline-- her pet's first name/her street name for her last).
Of course, they had to get sunglasses, fake moustaches
and explosives (Pop Rocks).
Once they finished their ID badges, they went into the girls' bedroom
to retrieve the presents-- only to find they'd been stolen!!!
They had to decipher their first clue-- that basically told them
if they wanted to solve the Birthday Present Heist, they
had to undergo Spy Training.
Off they went first for "Mind Sharpening" where they had
to remember as many items as possible on a tray.
Then it was outside for physical training--
which of course, included a few runs down the "escape hatch".
Next it was "Weapons Training"-- squirt gun
wars with targets on their backs.
And finally, Bomb Detonation... where they found
clues that led them to a puzzle...
they had to put together of a map showing
where they could find the stolen presents.
You'll never guess who the culprits were!!!
Actually, who was harboring the contraband!
Our dear sweet neighbors, the Bodilys- and they
played it up perfectly.
Once the girls found their presents stashed
at the Bodily's, they brought them home,
opened them up
and had the most delicious spy refreshments you've ever seen.
I got smart this year and traded a gallon of blackberries to
my friend, Lori Renn (the Cupcake Lady).
She made Salted Caramel and Red Velvet.
Yes, you sure should be salivating.
Then it was back to the ol' escape hatch
until parents came.
Reese was thrilled.
I'm exhausted -- probably from working off all that guilt.
But it was worth it.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
So Kean woke up feeling rather lousy after his big Chemo day yesterday.
But... he sure turned a corner once we got him outside.
I tell you, that boy loves the great outdoors.
We finally (don't get me started) got his new therapy
tricycle put together (thanks Trent for the help).
And off we went today.
We rode down to our neighbor, Grandpa Bodily's driveway.
Which sure brought back the ol' memories of the countless
hours we spent doing "lawn mower" therapy -- trying to
get that little boy to walk.
This time, Grandpa Bodily is on a cane and I figure
this tricycle therapy is as good for him as it is for Kean.
Right now Kean's ankles and legs aren't quite strong enough
to pedal the trike by himself but I'm told his legs going round and round
as we push the contraption is still good for building up muscles.
Bet you can guess what we'll be doing every day from here on out.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
That's what today was.
Today marked our last Chemo in the clinic day.
We still have one big hospital sedation Chemo to go next month
and then home Chemo until September 13th--
but today was the final through his port.
I can barely get my head around it.
I all too clearly remember the day he was inducted and they told
us it would be a 3 year 2 month Chemotherapy protocol.
I couldn't even imagine surviving that long, let alone getting to the end.
Yet, here we are.
And surprisingly, we somehow made it to quite near the finish line.
And as if today wasn't special enough, everything at the hospital clinic
went about as perfect as we could ask for.
Kean's port gave us only a few minutes of trouble (we almost always
have problems getting his blood to flow).
Since we were just in less than two weeks ago, there wasn't a long
list of things to talk over with the doctor-- so that was quick
not easy, but quick.
I thought you'd enjoy getting a glimpse of what it is like for the
Doc to try and check him.
Yep, I death grip his hands, the doc checks him, while
the nurse holds his kickers, I mean, his legs.
Trust me, he is way stronger than you can imagine.
My friend Sally Giles works double time to keep
him entertained while the doctor goes over stuff with me.
It is a huge team effort!
We didn't even have to wait long for the pharmacy to "cook' his Chemo.
I tell ya, it was a banner day.
We finished up and got home about 1 1/2 to 2 hours earlier
But we couldn't leave before getting to play with
the hospital therapy dog, Lucy Mae.
Another biggie down.
Now to just get through this next week of the side effects and
those lovely Steroids.
Can you imagine what his life will be like when he feels good everyday?
Monday, July 27, 2015
So get this.
Kean had his best day ever at his little therapy school today.
His therapists were almost giddy as they told me how he dazzled
AND how he was nice to the other two kids (even sharing).
Perhaps we will survive Kindergarten.
Here's the funny part, two of his therapists decided he looked like Robert Redford
with his tousled blonde hair (and his dapper outfit).
We all thought that was quite funny until his Occupational Therapist
told us she had never heard of Robert Redford.
To try and drown our sorrows of feeling so old after that comment,
we went over to the Moomey's for one incredibly delicious dinner.
Holland and Greer left for church Girls' Camp this morning-- so dinner was
a bit quieter than usual.
After dinner and dessert, Elly took Kean outside to
play ball with Pete, the dog.
That is one crazy dog-- and one crazy boy who loves
to watch the crazy dog.
Kean kind of has this obsession with Pete.
Poor Pete, I'm sure he is quite relieved when that kid who
chases him all over the house and yard finally leaves.
I think they'll both sleep soundly tonight!
p.s. tomorrow is heavy Chemo at the hospital.
Can you believe this is our second to last big Chemo?
Pinch me, pinch me, pinch me.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
We had one of those rock and roll weeks.
On Wednesday night, some friends of ours came up from Buhl, Idaho.
The Benson's youngest daughter -- just like Kean has that
double whammy: Down's and cancer.
We got all the kids pizza while the adults went out
for a much deserved night out.
The next morning, we joined the Benson's and two other cancer families
for a day up in the mountains for white water rafting.
We had the absolute best time--- we are friends with
all these families and love being together.
There is this organization, River Discovery that takes
cancer families out on the water for the entire day.
It is pretty close to heaven-- relaxing at times-- thrilling at others.
With beautiful scenery all along the way.
Reese didn't even make it ten minutes on the bus back to our cars.
I just wish I could have pulled that off.
As if we didn't have enough excitement, we pulled off
on the way home and spent a half hour at our favorite
river side beach.
I don't know where the kids get their energy
rafting all day, rock diving on the way home.
We got home in time for my cousins to pull in from out of state
for a quick over night stay.
I'm bummed I didn't get any pictures
because we love, love, love these cousins.
They left Friday morning.
Friday night, Byron and I sneaked out for a quick date night.
We headed up to The Village complex
where we listened to live music and
checked in on our Baldapalooza booth.
We are just over one month away.
It is going to be epic (to quote Greer).
Oh, and in between all that, we've picked over thirty gallons of
Our little Kean wouldn't eat a thing for dinner tonight
(other than 8 grapes)
but I did get him to down a Blackberry milkshake
filled with three tablespoons of cornstarch.
The ones we had -- had to taste much better than his.
But he still downed it.
This boy. Can't wait for him to be off all these drugs
that sure mess with him.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
This little monkey.
I can't decide if he should be considered an angel or a devil.
Last night a friend came by to pick up some blackberries.
Kean was across the room while she told me about her
mother being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer
and then falling and breaking her arm in the middle of
her Chemo treatment.
Out of the blue, Kean gets up, comes across the room and
into the kitchen where we were, goes to her, reaches up and
gives her the sweetest hug.
It is as if he has-- not a Spidey Sense but an Angel Sense.
As if to make up for that sweet moment and
give us a little counter balance, he woke up
at 3:30 this morning-- ready for the day.
There was no way he was going back to sleep
(or letting Byron and I get some zzzzz's).
You'll have to call it.
I'm too tired.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
We celebrated Reese's ninth birthday this weekend.
Still trying to figure out how that little munchkin can be
growing up so fast.
She had quite the sweet start to her day-
Reese has been dying to take gymnastic lessons.
A friend of a friend has offered to come over to the house
and teach Reese (along with her own two daughters)
lessons on Saturday mornings.
Her name is Summer Nielsen and she couldn't be kinder--
or better at teaching.
We were all amazed to see how much Reese improved
in just an hour.
She loved every second but pretty much wore herself out.
Then it was birthday party time.
Byron's cousin and his wife were in town for dinner
so that was a treat.
Silly me forgot to take any pictures of them or dinner--
just Reese with some of her presents.
I'm not sure what she enjoyed more--
presents or phone calls from our family or...
Kean telling her "Happy Birthday Cake"
when she went to blow out her candles.
We sure adore this little girl
and all the joy she brings to our family.
Happy 9th year, little one.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Today was blast from the past today.
Yesterday, a group of us went down to our local NBC station
for a segment on Baldapalooza. The morning anchor there
just so happens to be married to a gal I worked with at my
first TV station in Las Vegas.
Today, Tonia Ellis Petcash dropped by the house for a visit
and a get-caught-up-conversation.
Small, small world, eh?
But wait, there's more.
About this time last year, you may remember we got a request
to go and meet a group of local bikers who were heading up to
Every year, about 500 to 600 bikers gather there to escort
the bus load of children with cancer to Camp Rainbow Gold.
Nate Peters asked to meet Kean before they made the trip
to get a little inspiration.
We instantly fell in great like with Nate Peters and have kept
in touch (in fact, he's over the stage logistics for Baldapalooza).
This afternoon, he drove out to the house on his Harley
to give the boy a little spin.
How lucky are we to be surrounded by so many great friends!
Kean should sleep well tonight...dreaming of things that go vroom.