Reincarnated As A Mother

Sunday, June 11, 2017

J.O.Y.

This may come across more than a little crazy... but
cancer can be oh, so beautiful.
Case in point.
We got home tonight from a little slice of heaven.
We spent the past four days with seventeen other cancer families
at Camp Rainbow Gold's Family Retreat on Lake Perkins.
I can't begin to tell you how much we love this place, these
people or this experience.
(Byron took this picture first thing this morning-- eat your heart out Ansel Adams).

My pictures and words are so inadequate.
From the minute we arrive at camp, it is a joy to watch 
my children join with others to play, laugh and cut loose.
Even Kean.
He gets in the middle of things and does "his thing".
 The first night is dinner, music...
 and carnival.
 I'm talking a full-on carnival with more activities than are in 
this picture, lots of dancing and way too much cotton candy and other treats.
 Nirvana for kids
and once again, joy for moms to watch such smiles.
 Our days were pretty packed-- with archery...
 and watching our mountain goats climb the wall.
This is Reese but Holland set a speed record--
she got to the top in 27 seconds.
 We went Geo-Catching with other families...
 Had lots of down time to laugh (and sing...remember we had Greer with us).
 One of our favorite activities was solving the mysteries
in an "Escape Room".
 Every night was filled with music-- talent shows, silly jokes...
 and crazy karaoke.
 On Saturday, the beautiful weather fled and was replaced by snow.
Snow in June!
That didn't stop the fun...
we moved inside for crafts, games and general silliness.
 Superman - above, Jason Hosick is one of our favorites.
He wears a new wig about every hour (or at least every few hours).
I don't know of any child who does not love Jason, including Kean.
 Before every meal, we all gather and make a huge circle,
hold hands to sing a silly, little song about what we are thankful
for.  For some reason, Kean won't stand with his family or in the 
circle but has his special spot in the middle of things.
He goes to the same exact spot before every meal!
 After every meal, it is Shine Time.
A hat, the crazier, the better, is passed around with the microphone
where whoever wants to-- shows their gratitude by
"shining" for someone or something.
I think Reese shined every meal.
Oh, how we love these crazy folks who do so much for our families.
This is Camp Director, Steve England-- who happens to be a Lieutenant in the
Haley Police Department.  Wouldn't you love to have him pull you over?
 Our final night at camp, Holland and Greer sang a duet as part
of the talent show...
 There's nothing better than watching your kids thrive 
and enjoy every minute while being together as a family.
 The night ends with the Pine Cone ceremony where every family
(some who have lost children and the rest of us, who have had
children forever scarred by cancer) tie written "wishes" on 
pine cones, throw them into the fire and send them to heaven.
It is the most somber moment of camp-- highly emotional and
incredibly touching.
 We woke up this morning to glorious weather.
Of course, it was the day we said our goodbyes.
We did get in a family hike before breakfast.
We came home tired, dirty, loaded up with laundry and
even better, loaded up with memories we'll never forget
and experiences that will recharge us and keep us going.
We love everything about Camp Rainbow Gold-- especially the love.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Most Thrilling Gift

You won't believe what came in the mail today...
 one thing that absolutely made this boy smile.
 No, make that giggle...
and try and kiss the gift.
 An autographed photo from none other than THE CURIOUS GEORGE!
Actually, it is signed by Frank Welker himself,
the guy who has voiced countless movie and cartoon characters--
but most importantly (to Kean anyway) Curious George.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Leslie Lamers!
You have made one little boy incredibly happy
(and one mom incredibly touched)!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Blowing Bubbles and "Stink" Eye!

Big exhale.
Yesterday was Kean's regular cancer screenings at MSTI.
He wasn't too happy to get his arms numbed up for "vampire draws"
but once we got there... they are so dang cute with him
he seems to forget why he is there.
 I'd have to say if I had someone blowing bubbles and singing to me,
I'd be happier about my doctors appointments too.
 In honor of National Pay It Forward day, my company, Scentsy, gives
all 1058 employees a ten dollar bill and a little card
asking the recipient to pay it forward.
While at the Cancer clinic the nurses told us about a teen boy who was
having a particularly rough day-- Kean and I went over, introduced ourselves
and then Kean gladly handed him the card and money.
It sure brightened our day-- hoping it did the same for Jake.
By the way, Kean's counts look good.
That's the great news.
The bad news is he woke up with a gift from the clinic--
Pink Eye.
So another day off of school.
This makes day 49 this year.  Isn't that insane?
And he has two weeks he's taking off for surgery starting
May 9th.
This boy is a record breaker I tell you!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Vegas Baby

Let me quote my dear husband:
"We are having Prime Rib.  Sorry for your bad luck!"
 I'm home while the whole gang (including my parents)
are spending Spring Break in Vegas.
I had to take a business trip to Atlanta
(I had an incredible view from my hotel room)...
 and got home yesterday in time for another baby cow
to make its debut this morning.
It looks and sounds like they are having a grand time.
I'm told Kean only whined for me for the first couple of days
(he's now conveniently forgotten about me)- ha.
They spent one day hiking around one of our favorites--
Valley of Fire.
 If you haven't been, it's about 45 miles outside of Vegas.
 And has all kinds of cool historical stories (about a renegade Indian
who killed a few people and hid up in these canyons)
and lots of Indian Petroglyphs.
 They got to have dinner with my childhood best friend and her husband--
and have been living it up in the sun at Grammy and Grandpa's house.
 There's no pool but a jacuzzi is just as good.
This is the house my parents are trying to sell -- again.
video
In case you didn't know, they had it sold once but the
guy died three weeks before closing.
If you know of anyone... er, looking to buy, not die--
let me know!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Dancing King and His Queens

Friday night we had one of our best evenings of the year.
Boise State's Dance Marathon is something we look forward to all year long.
Hundreds and hundreds of students dance all night to raise money
for St. Luke's Children's Hospital and the Children's Miracle Network.
 Kean's been one of their "Champion" children since they
started this event at BSU five years ago.  Of course, this
was only his second year he was well enough to attend--
and just look at him up on stage with some of the other honored
kids and some of the dancers.
 Part of what makes this so fun, is we've grown to love
many of these students.  Here the kids are reunited with
Kendra from last year.  We adore this girl!
 In the hopes of getting the students motivated to keep dancing,
they had our family (and others) get up on stage and tell
our story.
 Kean was so great on stage-- totally comfortable
and even babbled something into the mic.
 They lined up the portraits and stories of all of the honored kids.
 I had to stop myself from stealing Kean's and taking it home--
it was so cute!
 They did let us take home the posters where the kids
wrote the kindest notes to each of the children.
 It is such a fun event-- lots of food, treats, visitors---
Kean was quite intrigued by the giant cow.
I'm not sure what a cow has to do with the Boise State Broncos,
but Kean loved playing with the poor guy.
 Of course, there was a lot of dancing.
One of my favorite moments?  Reese dancing with Kean.
She weighs a whopping five pounds more than he does.
 I loved this coed-  who came over, plopped down on the floor
and hung out with Kean for about twenty minutes.
 In fact, that's one of the things we love so much-- we must have
been hugged by at least a hundred students.  They are so great 
and friendly with all of us.\
This is a picture of our dear friend, Drea-- the student who heads
up the entire Dance Marathon.
Everyone paid a buck to put a piece of duct tape on her
to strap her to the wall.
My girls were right in there!
 Another fun fundraiser, was Jail.  My mom sent Reese
to jail for ten minutes.  We like to start our juvenile delinquency
off young.
 We couldn't leave Holland and Greer out of the fun.
We hired Malek (the guy on the left) to round them up and haul
them off to the pokey.
 We were there for about five hours (not in jail, at the event)-- and the dance floor
just kept growing.
 The student union/rec center regulations don't allow anyone
under 18 to stay past ten.  So at about 9:30, all the hero 
families went back on stage.
Kean had his little harem of coeds surrounding him.
 He wanted nothing to do with his family-- he was
too busy dancing in the arms of one girl after another!
 And he didn't even seem phased by the fact there was nearly
a thousand kids dancing and watching him.
 Our favorite part - hands down-  is the end of OUR night--
when all the students form a monster of a long tunnel
and we all run the gauntlet-- telling them thank you and
giving them high fives.
 It is an incredible experience...
 where we feel nothing but love.
Kean ate it up-- especially since he was being carried
the entire time (her back must be aching today)
by a cute, blonde co-ed.
We went home to bed (Kean was asleep before we left the parking garage)
while the students danced all night.
They unveiled the funds raised this morning.
Drum roll please....
$150,712.62 RAISED FOR THE KIDS!
Can you believe that?
The future of our country is in good hands.
Seriously.