Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Update on Jake

The news from the neurosurgeon was good and bad. We learned that the lesion had not changed like the radiologist in Flagstaff had told us. However, the doctor said that it doesn't mean the
lesion shouldn't come out. It is very close to the area of the brain that gives Jake control over his right arm and leg. Surgery would likely result in weakness in his arm and leg. But, if we wait to see if it bleeds again, the bleed would probably cause the weakness as well. This is very frustrating news because we feel it is a catch 22. The doctor said if we had 100 neurosurgeons in a room 50 would say take it out and 50 would say leave it. So the question is what do We say?? It is difficult to have the onus of the decision on us because I don't know how I will feel if I decide wrong.
So, we decided to wait 6 months and get another scan. In the meantime we are praying for guidance and that God continues to hold Jake safely in his arms.

Monday, November 24, 2008

So Sweet

Yesterday at Mass they talked about collecting turkeys and canned foods for the poor. I had every intention of taking a donation, but Jake really beat me to it. While I was upstairs digging in the attic, I heard Sam say, "Wheeere are you going Jake??" I ran downstairs to find Jake standing there with the big box we keep his shoes in and the above sign. I said, "Jake, you can't just go door to door and ask for money. People don't know if you are honest, and secondly, you could get hurt. Lastly, no one is going to give you enough money to fill that enormous box!" He replied, "Mom, are you saying I can't fundraise for the poor?" What could I say to that?
I told him that it would be ok as long as he and Sam went together and they did not leave our street. I also suggested that they ask for canned foods instead of cash and that they tell people the donations were for the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
Well, they did indeed collect A LOT of canned food. I was very proud and impressed with their efforts and I told them to take it all out to the garage and put it on the shelf on the left hand side of the freezer. This morning I went outside to gather it up and I couldn't find it. They had put it on the left hand shelf INSIDE the freezer!!! Thank the Good Lord that they did not all explode. So now we are defrosting it, and checking to see what happens to frozen canned foods before we donate it. Any ideas????

It is a Good Thing that Bird is Behind Glass

Thanksgiving Preparation

Stirring the stuffing
Blood Orange Soda in a Fancy Glass!
Will REALLY liked the cranberry sauce!

John, the ever faithful tast tester!

I think the cat had too much fun
Boys can iron too!
Maybe even better than Mom!

Since we have to be in Phoenix this week, I had to get a head start on our Thanksgiving feast. We have been cleaning, decorating, ironing table cloths and of course, cooking!!!
Some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories are from my childhood when my mom, my Aunt Betty, and my sisters would make Portuguese stuffing. They always had sooo much fun!! Aunt Betty would sit at the kitchen table and chop up the giblets (and whatever parts are inside the turkey!) and my mom and sisters would season the stuffing and fry it in butter. I, of course, loved to be the taster! I have always tried to keep this tradition going and even though my family is not always together on Thanksgiving, there is usually at least one of my favorite women to make stuffing with. Last year my best friend and I made a crazy mishmash of her mom's recipe and Aunt Betty's stuffing. It turned out fabulous because it was full of love. But this year I was very sad since I was by myself. What to do? I decided to get my boys into the act. We all had something delicious and bubbly to drink, we played lots of fun music, we danced, we laughed and we made stuffing. It wasn't quite the same, but we had a good time. Hopefully, this can become a treasured Thanksgiving memory for them too!

I Told You Before...This Baby is TROUBLE

He figured out how to push the stepstool where he wants.
Hopefully, by the time he has the height to climb over, he will have the sense not to do it! It is a three story drop!!! Yikes!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yum, Yum!!

Granny left a homemade chicken pot pie in the freezer for us...I think Will really liked it!

Trying to Fill Daddy's Shoes

I went outside to throw away the trash today and when I returned this is how I found Will!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't Stop Praying...

Staples are gone!!

Yesterday Sam went to Phoenix for his recheck and to have his staples out. Because he is still having a lot of headaches they put in an order for another scan--we don't know when that will be yet.

But this morning, both Jake and Sam had appointments for physicals. Jake had not been feeling well yesterday; he was running a bit of a fever so I assumed he just had a bug. However, when the doctor examined him she found that his uvula (the hanging thing in the back of his throat) was shifted to one side. This is a sign of a problem with the cranial nerve. We were sent to the hospital for a stat CT which showed he does have a significant new bleed. Our doctor felt we should go by ambulance to Phoenix, but after talking to the neurosurgeon in Phoenix, they concluded that Jake was stable enough to wait until his next office hours which are Tuesday. At that time he will decide if this lesion must be removed. Of course, if anything changes with his symptoms he said to drive straight to the Phoenix Children's ER. So please keep us in your prayers...two brain surgeries in a month might just be pushing our limits. I ask that you especially pray for peace and strength for Jake. He is old enough now, and has seen enough because of Sam, to be very worried.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


It seems like we all have recognized that Christmas has gotten way out of control. Too much food, too many parties, too many gifts, too much of everything. For a long time John and I have been thinking about how to focus on the real meaning of Christmas and each year I think we do a little better. It is easy as Catholics because we have Advent, the season of hope and preparation, that is the real celebration. It is easy too, because as Catholics we have so many beautiful, timeless, rituals that are already a part of our traditons. But sometimes I am afraid it is also easy to forget and to get caught up in the endless season of excess. It always seems fun, but it never is.
This year we decided to get really serious and we have taken a vow to live the true meaning of Christmas. My December lesson plans will focus on Advent, and the kids and I will continue learning, but all in the context of the season of Hope. We will make gifts (I'm not that crafty, so sorry if you get a homemade gift from me!), we will live the message of serving and loving others, we will simplify so we have time to just be together. Time to make memories. As I reflect on Sam's surgery, or really even the last nine years of living with this illness, one thing I am certain of is what I want for my children is lots of loving memories. If all else fails, I want them to know that Jesus Christ was born and died just for them and as our favorite priest says, "You are loved". So without being too preachy I recommend this short video about the real meaning of Christmas. It reminded me of what I believe in my soul. I bet it does the same for you.

Just Reading

More Kitty Pictures

Will like's to shake Maple's paw and say "Hi!"
"OOOOH, This, This!"
"I touched her, I really did it!"

Sam and Bagera

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Me too!

Will is loving all of the gifts Sam is receiving! Especially balloons!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sam is glad to be home and recovering. He and Jake both got kittens on Sunday. We had snow on Monday, so it was the perfect day to spend cuddled up with his kitty in front of a nice warm fire. Unfortunately, Sam is running a fever of unknown origin, so if it doesn't break by tomorrow we have to go back to Phoenix. No one is looking forward to that, but in the scheme of things he is recovering quite well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's a Hard Day

No pictures today--Sammy is not at his finest. Today everything is catching up to him. He is in a lot of pain and both of his eyes have swollen shut. It's very scary and confusing to hear the noise of a hospital but not be able to see what is happening around you. The doctor prescribed some medicine that hopefully will reduce the swelling, and they are taking him off iv fluids since he is able to eat on his own now. That means as soon as he can open his eyes and walk on his own we will be able to go home. We hope that will be tomorrow but the doctor said he thinks more likely it will be Sunday. We just want to get home--a hospital is no place for a person who needs some rest!!

Please keep Sam in your prayers today; he needs them.

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Surrounded by Love

Sam is doing well today. He is having some pain, and his eye is swollen shut which is driving him crazy, but he is coping well. An MRI was done this morning and everything looks good. So we will be moving out of the ICU at some point today and into a regular room.
Sam is getting a lot of security out of all of the love and prayers being sent to him. He especially is comforted by his baby blanket that Aunt Kim made, and his new stuffed animal friends. Thanks to everyone for all your love and prayers--they are working--God is definitely watching over Sammy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Sam woke up for a few minutes. He talked to us, he moved everything, he asked for water and swallowed fine, he even read the card on a FABULOUS gift from our friends the Matejkas! He is looking great! The pain started to set in after he was awake for a little bit, as well as his aversion to light and noise. So our wonderful nurse was quick with the pain meds, and he is probably going to be kept mostly asleep (except for hourly neurological tests) tonight. Right now he is curled up with his little penguin friend and he is wearing eye shades that Aunt Cheryle brought him. She is so clever!!! Thanks for checking on our Sammy. We can't tell you how much we aprreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Getting Ready

Here are some pictures of Sam in preop this morning. He is wearing super cozy feetie pajamas from Aunt Margaret and has a new penguin friend from the Hardys'. He loved it all so much! In fact, the nurse tried to give him a new teddy bear and he said, "No, you should save it for a kid who doesn't already have a special friend." Later he saw a little girl in her room with the bear and he said, "Mom, I think I did something nice--she got that bear!"
The funny things on Sam's head are called fiducials. They are markers for the stealth guided computer that will be used during the surgery. He went off to surgery at about 8:45 am and he was very brave. Not so much mom :(
We don't expect to hear anything for a while, it takes a LEAST an hour to get him hooked up to all the lines and actually start the incision.
Thanks for checking on us...we'll keep you posted.

"Life is Not About Waiting For the Storm to Pass, it's About Learning to Dance in the Rain."

We came down to Phoenix on Tuesday for Sam's pre-op appointments and we stayed overnight at Sam's favorite hotel! It has room service AND a waterpark! What could be better?
Sam and Jake swam and played all day and had a great time. Sam teaches us so much...he truly was loving the moment and not worried about the future at all.

Jake's birthday is Friday, so we had an early celebration at the hotel's Wild West themed restaraunt. Perfect for a cowboy like Jake!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Preparing for the Big Chill

Today we stacked our firewood for winter. The boys gave us so much help. You can tell by their dirty faces that they were very hard workers!

Happy Halloween!

This year we celebrated Halloween at our church's Trunk or Treat. This is a picture from the side of Our Lady of the Holy Nativity Chapel. The parents decorated their cars and the kids trick or treated from trunk to trunk. It was a lot of fun!
John, manning our car.

Will really loved passing out candy!

G.I. Sam

Our friend Beth and Will

Will has discovered Hersheys and boy does he love chocolate!

The object of this game was to eat the donut on the string without using your hands. It was a lot more difficult than you would think, but if you know Jake and Sam you know their passion for donuts. Jake did not give up--he conqured that donut--using every possible position!

Another lollipop for Will. Thankfully he doesn't have any teeth back there to rot!

Our crazy boys! Will would not keep his hat on for the picture, but take it from me he makes one darling scarecrow!!!