Sunday, July 27, 2008

Camp Memories

Yesterday, I picked up three girls that wished camp wasn't over.  I am so glad they had such a wonderful time.  They have hardly stopped talking about it since they got home.  Here are some things they want to share:

Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times was amazing. We met incredible friends, did fun things, and had good food.  We did things that varied from fishing, to sleeping under the stars on teepee night, to dressing up as men one night. And it was funny because the guy cabin next to us said, "hey guys, " then they looked closer and were like, "Whoa, those are chics!" It was funny.  
Of course, all I caught was a duck. Yes, I said duck. The duck tried to take my bait and it would not let go of my fishing line.  We also got to ride horses.  And I always love being up in the mountains!  This camp was near Idyllwild, where we visited our friends Mark and Laurie last winter.  It was beautiful there.           
It is good to be home, but I am still camp-sick. I miss my cabin family. The photo below shows my cabin family, which included Megan. I can't wait till winter session. 

Here is Shannon's story:
Camp was so much fun. I wish I could go back and play more games with my cabin family.  One time when we were playing games outside, it started hailing, even though it was summer.  It was so cool, since I don't ever remember seeing hail before.  I liked catching minnows in the pond.  One of my favorite things to do was horseback riding.  I really liked my horse, Pokey. I got to feed the horses carrots and I got to take off Pokey's saddle.  As you can see below, I caught a fish, but it was an accident.  One of my friends gave my their fishing rod to hold so she could go get water.  I was kind of spacing out as I held the rod, and the hook fell into the water.  A fish grabbed on and I caught it! I don't like catching fish though because I don't like seeing them on the hook.  So after that, I just stuck to catching minnows with a net and then releasing them back into the water. Everyday we also got to go swimming in the pool.  My favorite memory was the dance because I love dancing. I really miss my friends and counselors.  I wish I was back at camp.
Thanks to Camp Ronald McDonald for providing this wonderful camp experience for these pediatric oncology patients and their siblings.  These are truly memories that will last forever.  Even Megan, who I always worry about how she handles having a twin sister with cancer came home and said, "We really were like a big family.  And it was so nice because everybody understands what it is like to deal with cancer. Everyone just gets it."

And summer fun is not over yet.  Remember how Kelly picked a Disney Caribbean Cruise as her Make A Wish?  Well, we are leaving this Saturday!  Kevin is flying home Friday night to go with us, then we fly to Florida early Saturday morning.  We get on the ship Sunday morning. And somewhere in Florida, we have to find a bookstore so Kelly can get the latest Stephanie Meyer book in the Twilight Series that she has been so eagerly anticipating.  She has read the first three books in the series countless times. The fourth book, Breaking Dawn, is being released Saturday.

  So like they have been doing all summer, the girls are unpacking, getting laundry done, and repacking their suitcases. Of course,  Megan and Shannon will squeeze in as many dance classes as they can this week while they are home. What an amazing summer we are having! After last spending most of last summer at the hospital, we really appreciate this fun summer this year.  We don't take this for granted anymore! Tomorrow night is Kelly's  "Wish" Party where we get all the details for our trip.
Kelly does have chemo on Wednesday, so hopefully she will recover in time to feel good for our flight Saturday morning.  Send your good thoughts and prayers her way to have a quick recovery this week from chemo!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Special Request

The girls will be home from camp tomorrow.  It looks like they are having a good time from the photos on the camp website.  One of the camp directors called the second night they were there just to let me know the girls were fine, making friends, and having a lot of fun.  We are very thankful that the girls have had this opportunity for this week at camp.  I wasn't sure about spending the week alone, but it has been a very nice week for me also.  I have  had the chance to spend more time with friends and do things I don't normally do.  Thanks to Pam, yesterday was wonderful! We had a spa morning, which I have never done before.  I don't think I would have if it weren't for Pam.  (Lunch was a nice treat too - thanks Soni!) 

I have a special request for another little boy in Iowa that is fighting another type of brain cancer.  Coleman is only four and also has a twin.  In March, he had a stem cell transplant that was their hope to totally eliminate his cancer.  But last week he had an MRI that revealed cancer cells and tumors in his spinal cord.  We have been through recurrence and know how devasting that news is.  The Larson family could really use some extra prayers right now as they decide their next steps in this rough journey.  For those of you that are following our friend, Bailey, you may have already seen this on their website, but I'd like to post it here to support the Larsons.  Bailey's family visited the Larsons in Iowa this week on their cross county trip.  They had become friends through their carepages and finally got to meet.


Friday, July 25th 

We are asking all of you out there to send everything you have (prayers, hugs, thoughts) to Team Larson on this Friday, especially at 11:00 am.  The power of prayer (collectively) can help them right now.  Please pass this message along to everyone.  And remember to hug your children or anyone close to you!  Thanks for your help.
Bob and Peggy, we are right here with you.

This is Coleman and his twin brother, Caden.  

If you would like to visit their website, they have a carepage.  Click on this link:   then sign in and go the the carepage ColemanScott

There is one more thing you can do now to help all the kids fighting childhood cancer.  There is a petition online to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer.  If you to to carepages, you can visit the carepage, ajsspace  to learn more about what this dad is doing to help childhood cancer.  He also had a blog with good information on it. Here is the link to that.

Click here to sign the petition   CURE CHILDHOOD CANCER PETITION 
We can make a difference!  Every day 46 kids will be diagnosed with cancer, and this will continue unless WE do something about it.  It doesn't cost anything, just a moment of your time.  Thank for caring!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Camp Ronald McDonald

Our house is so quiet.  I am not used to being here without anyone.  Even during the school year, Kelly is always here and I haven't been away from her since she was diagnosed a year ago. And Kevin is back in Hawaii.  I was a little worried about it and yesterday morning as we were loading the car, I thought, Why did I sign them up for this???   But we arrived at the Ronald McDonald House in Orange where the bus was meeting them to take them up to camp and met other campers and the wonderful counselors, they were already at ease and looking forward to the fun week ahead.  I drove home happy that they were going to have such a great week in the mountains.  And I am looking forward to going out to dinner and a movie with friends tonight!

If anyone is interested, there is a website for the camp they are at and they are posting photos thoughout the week.  They already have photos up of the cabin groups.  Shannon is in cabin 4 and Megan and Kelly are both in cabin 12.  Follow the link below to the website, click enter, then on the Home page, click the camera where it says Find Your Camper.  The current session will be at the top center of the photo page.  

Link to  Camp Website:

If you haven't read Kelly's post from yesterday, it is just below.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gooseberries and Burrito Bliss

   Hello! I assume that you are wondering why I have such an interesting title. Well, I walked in for chemo on Wednesday when Christy ( from the clinic ) walks in holding the strangest looking berries I have ever seen. They were about the size of a grape, green, and those weird stripes like a watermelon. They were GOOSEBERRIES!!! And let me tell you, if you have never tried them before, they are the most delicious berries EVER!!! I had, like, a bajillion. 

   Moving on, I didn't play guitar hero this time, ( because Bailey wasn't there, why else? ♥) so I painted. I painted what a good day, and a bad day looked like. They are going to be on display next spring with other painting from oncology kids.  Then, just for fun, I painted my initials into styrofoam plates. By the end of chemo, I HADN'T THROWN UP ONCE!!!!! It was miraculous I tell you! I think it was this magic pill called Emend that they added to my anti nausea meds before chemo.  So afterward, I had a burrito and a large Dr. Pepper. Delish.

   I have felt nausous since, but I eat, and it goes away. Woot Woot! I am fine now, which is good because I am going to camp today!!!! I can't wait. Well, I gotta go. Breakfast is a callin'. Oh yeah!!! Shout out to Katie, as soon as I get back, I will call you asap.
P.S.   Gooseberries are disgusting. They are yucky, gross, BLECH!!! I only had one. You are welcome  to try them though. EEWW. Bon appetite!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Florida Photos

 We arrived home from Florida last night.  I just wanted to share some more photos from our trip.  This is Shannon on the sand bar we went to on Anna Maria Island.  She is looking for shells and sand dollars.
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, west coast of Florida

  We had a wonderful two weeks visiting with my sisters and their families that we don't get to see often enough.  We spent a fews days at Anna Maria Island before we came home, thanks to Tom's mom letting us use her condos there.  Thanks so much, Marilyn!  We enjoyed spending time there and being so close to the wonderful beach on the Gulf of Mexico.  The sand was white and felt like powder, and the girls were thrilled that they could actually find shells there.  We took a boat ride (photo above) to a sand bar,where we got out of the boat and found lots of sand dollars in the shallow, clear water.

Shannon and her cousin, Kylie.  They had a blast playing in the sand and water together.

Playing in the soft, white sand was a favorite thing for Shannon.  This sand never seemed to get hot the way it does here.  The water in the Gulf was nice and warm, for those of us used to the cold Pacific Ocean.  We spent hours in the water.

This bird would come almost all the way up to our sliding back door at the condo.  He was looking for a snack.   He let the kids get pretty close to him.  This is taken from the back door of the condo.

One of the nice things about this vacation for Kelly was not having to think about doctor appts. and chemo treatments.  Unfortunately, we are back home and back to real life.  She had labs today and has chemo tomorrow morning at the infusion center.  It was a nice three weeks off, which is the longest she has ever gone between chemo treatments.  

Kevin is also leaving again tomorrow morning for another two months in Hawaii with Marine Forces Pacific. We will miss him.  We were getting used to having him around.

Kelly, Megan and Shannon leave Sunday for Camp Ronald McDonald in our local mountains.  It is for Oncology patients and their siblings.  They are looking forward to a week of fun.  Kelly has met quite a few kids that are also cancer patients and have situations similar to hers.  But Megan and Shannon don't know too many friends that are dealing with sisters having cancer.  I hope this will be good for them to be with other kids who understand what they are dealing with.  When a child has cancer, it definitely affects the entire family, including the siblings.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Florida Fun

Kelly and Shannon with their cousins Kylie and Emily.  This is in France at Epcot in DisneyWorld.  Yesterday we went to Animal Kingdom and Epcot.  We squeezed in as much Disney as we could into one day.  Notice Shannon and Kylie have matching outfits.  We went shopping one day and those two got a couple matching outfits, which they still like to do.  Kylie is only 7 months younger than Shannon. 

We have been having a fun week in Florida so far.  We have spent a lot of time at my sister's house since she has a pool, and the kids have also been playing on a new slip and slide as you can see.  

Shannon on the slip and slide.  Notice the purple bracelet she is wearing.  
It says "Cancer Sucks."  Thanks Amy! That is one of the ones you sent us.

Here are most of the kids in the pool.  Kelly, Ryan, Kylie, Shanon, Megan and Emily.  The kids really enjoy being with their cousins.

The Fourth of July was a lot of fun, especially since we are used to living in dry California where it is illegal to set off our own fireworks.  We walked down to the dock on the lake, where we saw a lot of different fireworks displays around the shore, (and an alligator!) then we came back to Jenny and Bob's house and set off a bunch that we had bought that day.  The kids had a blast setting off fireworks and watching the dads who also had a blast setting off fireworks.

Megan and Kelly (and their cousins) learned something new last week - how to play poker.  Uncle Bob taught them all to play poker and we had a hard time convincing them to go to bed several nights when they were playing cards.

We are getting ready to leave to head to Anna Maria Island off the west coast of Florida.  We will stay there the rest of the week.  Tom's (Tracy's husband) mom owns two condos there and we are looking forward to spending some time at the beach.  

As many of you have noticed, I can't send out my emails like I usually do when I update.  That email list is on my computer at home.  Hopefully, many people have noticed that we are still updating while we are gone,  and happily it is all fun news.  It is so nice not to be just posting medical updates.  We almost feel like everything is normal right now.  More pictures will be posted soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


We are in Florida!  So far, it has been so nice relaxing at my sister Jenny's house near Orlando.  My sister, Tracy, and her family are also here from Oregon.  The cousins are all enjoying being together again.  We had a great day relaxing by and in her pool.  Tomorrow we are planning on going to Hollywood Studios at Disney.  It helps that Jenny's husband works for DisneyWorld here.  We'll be taking photos and I'll post them later this week.

We did put some photos from Megan and Shannon's Dance Show on a new website I just started.  I hope to keep updating it with photos.   Here is a link if you want to see some more dance photos.  There are also photos on that website from our trip to France.