Thursday, December 16, 2010


We got back from Lauren's Make-a-Wish trip to Disney world last Monday. It was quite the adventure. . . 3 kids 5 1/2 yrs old and younger! We had an awesome beginning of the trip, meeting one of our wish granters (Jan) at the airport. Her friends/previous coworkers let us board first, meet the pilot, order any food we wanted, and they made it an exciting trip. It was a long trip to Florida, but we made it with 3 crying kids and checked in to the Give Kids the World place. We left our house at 8 AM (Utah time) and finally got to our room/house at ~7 pm (Orlando time). Needless to see we were all pretty exhausted and didn't do much other then unload the car, eat, and go to bed.

The first stop was the Magic Kingdom (we actually spent 2 days in a row there. . .so much to do and so fun for the kids). It was AMAZING! We had a special pass that allowed us almost always immediate access to the rides and characters. We probably waited about 10 minutes tops! It will be hard to visit without this little perk. The Electric parade was cool (except for the hour wait to ensure a spot where we could see it;)

We spent a day at Sea World and got to feed the dolphins. The Shamu, otter, and dolphin shows were super fun. The kids loved the rides there too.

Disney Universal was next, and the kids had a blast there too. You could tell they were starting to get tired though. Brady got a piggy back ride a couple times because he couldn't walk anymore. We saw the show Fantasia, which was spectacular (again the worst part was the hour wait to ensure a seat before the show. . .Courtney was SUPER fussy, but managed to pass out about 10 min. into the show).

We also spent a day at Universal Island of Adventure where The Grinchmas was definitely a highlight of the day. The kids were able to meet characters at every park we went to, Lauren even filled her entire autograph book (now to get the photos printed).

There was so much to do, we didn't have time to do it all. The place we stayed at was amazing too. A little house with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen living room, and even a washer and dryer (that came in quite handy for Lauren's accidents . . she was super exhausted and fell asleep on the was to the car):/ We had a yummy breakfast at the gingerbread house every morning and the kids were able to enjoy activities at the Give Kids the World place too.

All in all it was a spectacular trip that seemed to speed by fast. We are so appreciative to all those who made it possible for us to make this trip of a lifetime!
**More photos to come. .. technical difficulties today. . .**

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 2010

Brady made the cutest card and gifts to give to Brock for his birthday. He is such a creative inventive kid who always comes up with unique inventions! He even made the card and wrote it all by himself. After church we went to Grandma Jenny's for a yummy birthday dinner and got to see the cousins. Brady has made great strides with learning to spell and sounding words out, I never noticed how many words aren't spelled phonetically until now. The other day he told Brock he was M. . .E. . .N! (aka mean) He doesn't believe me when I tell him how the word is really spelled;)
Cousin Riley
Bethany and Cousin TaylorChris, Taryn, and their puppy Josie
We got to meet with Lauren's wish granters (Jan and Nicole) again and got our itinerary for Disneyworld. They brought Lauren a princess backpack full of little princess thing. It will be nice to load it up for our 5 hr flight. The kids are super excited. We made a chain a little bit ago to help them know when we are leaving. It will be so fun for them and such a break from our year.
Jan, Lauren (with her new backpack and barbie), and Nicole
Poor Courtney got Conjunctivitis (pink eye), a runny nose, and an ear infection (the 2nd in 2 months. . .only her L ear both times). Let's hope she doesn't have her daddy's ears! So she is on antibiotics for both. She loves the Amoxicillin and gets mad when it is gone, she HATES the drops and closes her eyes super tight. It is amazing how much better they looked just after 24 hrs. I am glad she seems to be getting better fast just in time for our trip!
We had a wonderful thanksgiving dinner at my mom's (I didn't even have to bake anything. . .we'll except for making the gravy). It was so fun to see everyone again. It seemed like it had been a couple months. The kids had fun playing with there cousins and then we got to stop by Frankie's house and see Serena and the gang, followed by a slide show of Mark and his siblings. It was cute to see the pictures of everyone when they were little.
Cousin Eli
LaurenCousin Kylie
Cousin Taya
We'll we are off for Disneyworld this week. Let's cross our fingers we get good weather and that the kids have a wonderful time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Results In. . .Good News!

We have been anxiously awaiting Lauren's visit this week. She actually went Monday because I felt a small marble-shaped object a little bit above her scar on Friday night (after she had complained a couple random times last week about her tummy hurting. . .which is how it all started in the first place!) and wasn't sure what it was, it definitely worried me along with seeing what the lymph nodes around the spleen were doing over the past 4 weeks. She had her lab draws, urine tests, and abdominal ultrasound Monday. We had been waiting for the results and got them at her regular monthly visit today. She likely has a lipoma (which is what I felt) and the lymph nodes have not changed much. Lauren will be able to get her port (central line) out in 2-3 weeks and then she will go every 6 weeks for a regular check up and every 3 months for scans (CXR and US alternating with CT scan). So the news is good, we will just continue to watch her and hope for a full remission:)

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The kids were super excited to play in the snow. It lasted for a day, and was a total hit! I bought Brady some new snow pants just in time. . .now to buy some 'real' gloves:) Lauren used Brady's old pants and Courtney stayed inside.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween Festivities!

Of course, as usual there is an overabundance of photos. . .a little behind on the blogging;) Here are just a few shots of the Halloween festivities:

Brady as "The Knight" (as he said it), Courtney as a little ladybug, and Lauren as Snow White
Brady got to walk in a parade with all the other elementary kids. We got a quick glimpse as his class walked thru the halls of the school, picking up each class of on the way and ending in his class. We also got to see him perform a dance to Thriller too. He did an awesome job! It was SO cute to see him perform.
Brady in his Kindergarten class. .. he is in the way back by his teacher's assistant in the waldo costume.
Grandma Venita and Lauren after her Preschool ProgramLauren and Ms. Wendy- her teacher (she also has 2 student teachers who help in her class)Lauren and her preschool class (note the 3 Snow White's. . .the only repetitive costume. Brady was one of 3 superman's when he went to preschool at Ms. Wendy's too)Snow White at the beginning of her program. I thought she would do all the actions and sing all the songs, since she had been doing it at home everyday. She acted a little tired, and maybe stage fright??? There were TONS of people there watching it. . .parents, grandparents, siblings. Luckily we got there just in time to get one of the last seats. Most people had to stand for the program because there were so many people. We brought mummies (a version of pigs in the blanket with little smokies, complete with 2 mustard dots for eyes) and cheese for a refreshment. They were SO cool looking and quite a hit, they were gone super fast.Nick, Brady, and Lauren at Grandma Jenny's and Papa Greg's pre-Halloween partyMe and the kids at the annual Make-a-Wish trick or treating party. We weren't going to go because it was a couple busy hectic days that week, but cousin Riley wanted someone to hang out with. We met up with Becah, Marc and Riley. The kids got to get some candy, fish, and play a tossing game. They had fun so I am glad we went.Brady "fishing"Lauren tossing a beanbag in the pumpkins mouthAnd our final Halloween outing was trunk or treating at the church. No need to go door to door this year. The kids were completely satisfied with the little church outing. I made homemade chicken noodle soup and we had a yummy dinner. Thankfully they didn't get too much candy:)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good news. . .sort of

Lauren had her first set of scans off chemo today (3 weeks since her last dose). It was a very long day, starting with her first appointment at 8:30 and getting home ~4pm. She had her CXR first (clear-no cancer) followed by an abdominal ultrasound (showed a questionable area/?mass where her old kidney used to be), then up to the Heme/Onc clinic for a lab draw, some vomiting, and then some play time. I'm not quite sure if she made her self sick because she is sick after every clinic visit (because of the chemo she receives there). She was completely fine before the clinic and after the clinic both times, but she managed to throw up with both visits today. Then back down to Radiology for some contrast (added to apple juice, for her to drink over the period of an hour) and then a CT scan of her abdomen. The results are good for now. . .no tumor, just a lymph node that may or may not have cancer in it. . .time will tell. We need to watch it with another US in 4 weeks and hope it doesn't grow or spread elsewhere. Then back up to chemo to get her port de-accessed, drop off her urine sample I had been carrying around, get her lab results, and make a new appt. I can't wait to see what the node does, hopefully no growth over this month. It is a very nerve racking experience, and I am sure it doesn't get any easier with subsequent scans.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wishing Time

Lauren got to make her wish last week, and we are just waiting to get it finalized. Looks like we will be heading to Disney World after Thanksgiving for a week of much needed fun! The kids are SUPER excited. . .and we are too;)
Brady and Lauren making a wish with their special coins at the wishing pond outside
Lauren using her key to open the wishing room door

Following the lighted path to the wishing wizard

Placing her wish for the wizard
Her wish granters. .2 volunteers who made the night special and help to make her wish come true! Nicole and Jan got her yummy cheese pizza and chocolate cupcakes, along with some little presents (including a make-a-wish barbie, the big pink puppy on the table, a make-a-wish car for Brady, a little stuffed toy for Courtney and a few more things).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yay! Lauren's ANC and white blood cell counts stayed up enough to go to preschool again this week. Her platelet count dropped a little to 129K. She still is a little tired and falls asleep usually daily at random times.

Courtney is all but crawling. She is so cute and such a wonderful baby. You hardly know when she is around. She loves to mimic sounds now and ONLY wants big girl food (which can be a challenge with 3 teeth. . .one of her front teeth finally came out).

Who knew kindergarten would entail so much homework. Brady can handle a small sheet for homework, but this month he has the equivalent of about 30 sheets worth and 20 minutes of 'reading' a day. It's a challenge to get everything in, between all the usual stuff + some extras.

My ankle has been sore this week. It is now week 2 out of my walking cast + physical therapy= pain and more swelling! They iced my ankle today after PT which made it feel SO much better and have cut back the exercises to only 1 x/day, but also changed them up. We'll see how long it takes to heal and feel 100%. . .

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chemo is DONE. . .Wahoo!!!

Lauren had her very last chemotherapy dose today. It feels so unreal right now, it's hard to believe she is done with her treatment. She has been such a trooper, and an AMAZING patient (especially for a 2 to newly turned 3-year old).
The staff were so cute at the hospital today and even sang a little song about being done with treatment (to the tune of Happy Birthday To You) and sent her home with a few gifts. It was SO cute! Lauren had fallen asleep in my arms during her treatment which made me want to bawl. . .I don't get many down times to just soak in all that has happened, so she wasn't the happiest camper when we woke her up to take her dressing off and needle out. She got excited to see the little stash of gifts. They chose just what she would have chosen. . . a new Barbie, Tinkerbell bath set, cuddly teddy bear wearing a Cinderella crown, coloring book and crayons, and a soft cozy new blanket. Brady was SUPER excited to help her break it all in to. They could hardly wait to get in the bath tonight.
Well, the next step is weekly blood draws at home for 2 weeks and then another chest x-ray and abdominal ultrasound + blood and urine labs again in 3 weeks. If everything remains 'clean' she will be able to go to monthly appointments for a year and probably get her port out the end of October. She will have to get sedated to get it removed, which will be a new experience (other then her surgery of course). She has to stay on her antibiotics for another 3 months (YIKES. . . 8 months of total antibiotics!) and get no live-attenuated immunizations for a year (6 months for Brady and Courtney) so we will have a bit of time before everyone can catch up on their shots.
We are so grateful for each and everyone of you, who have helped us out in ANY way. We have been so blessed to be thought of and cared for so tenderly. There have been so many amazing people who have touched our lives forever. THANK YOU!!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Final Week Coming SOON!!!

This Wednesday should be Lauren's last chemo day as long as her ANC is at least 1000. It seems hard to believe that it is almost over, 5 months ago we were just getting started. Wahoo! It will be so amazing to have her treatment over, then we can all get back to 'normal' life and she can get back to just being a kid :)

Brady and Lauren have a love-hate relationship. Fortunately this morning it was love! They played tea party with real water and had some much fun. Kids can be so easy to please at times. . .
Courtney LOVES babies! It is so cute to see how excited she gets when we hand her a baby.Lauren's ANC was at an all time high at 2600 this past week (Wed. Sept 22), so she actually got to go to preschool! She was super excited and LOVED every minute of it. She has been talking about her Miss Wendy's for weeks. I know she can't wait until she can go every week.