Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Walkabout Wednesday

This is my messy flower bed. Since the cancer I've not been able to care for it, and it is overgrown. But we still enjoy the jasmine (on the right), the esperanza (yellow flowers) and the most stubborn plants I've ever seen, rock roses. They will not die. I've pulled them up several times and they just come right back, so I gave up and let them take over.

Oh, that's our pretty daughter-in-law, looking for some red salvia I spied in the middle of the rest of the mess. Do you see it in the second picture? A bit of red in the midst of all that pink. It had to grow tall to make itself known.

Then there's the esperanza with the flashy yellow flowers that bloom all summer. Every year I wonder if it will come back. It looks like a stick in the winter, and is one of the later bloomers.

And the pretty red turk's cap has already passed the high point of blooming this spring, but there are still some flowers. The leaves are pretty, too, at least for now.

Love the mixed colors on this lantana that came up on its own a few years ago and has been back every year since. I love flowers that like to be ignored and bloom like crazy anyway. :o)

It was hot today, and I spent some time on the patio watching the kids play in the pool. Cool grapes, fresh peach slices and a glass of peach
tea tasted so good. I still don't have much appetite, but sometimes I crave fruit.

Yesterday evening I got in the pool with the littles. They were so excited! Whew, I was tired after awhile. They wanted to swim to me over and over again. It was like being in with a pod of dolphins. It was fun, though.

Reece had "water day" at school today. He wore a t-shirt and his swim trunks and Crocs. They had a shaving cream station, a paint station (where they could paint themselves and then be sprayed off with a hose), a bubble station, a slip and slide, and a big blow-up swimming pool. There were other things too, I think, but I didn't go so didn't see. I saw the video the kids took. They were volunteers.

Reece only has a day and a half of school before summer vacation.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Tribute

Almost every year on Memorial Day I have posted a poem by C W Johnson. The poem was shared years ago by one of the posters on the Catholic board I frequent. We called him Teacher.

Teacher was a Marine, retired but still very much a Marine. He was a good, kind man. He died this Memorial Day weekend and he will be greatly missed. Teacher, this year the poem is for you.

Memorial Day
by CW Johnson

We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As Taps began to play.
The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.

They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here 'neath the sand.
I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.

Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,
Thanks for what you've given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore.

Semper Fi, Teacher.

Sunday Morning

I was so sick yesterday morning--chills, nausea, sore throat, itchy ears, weakness. I think it was a reaction to the Rituxan I had on Thursday. I felt better by late afternoon. Ron brought me fruit popsicles and I was able to keep them down.

It was Aubrey's birthday, and I didn't think I'd be able to go downstairs to see her blow out her candles and get her presents, but I felt better and was able to celebrate with her. She got a bicycle for her birthday, and was so excited. Pics later.

Our AC stopped working yesterday, so we've had the windows open and fans going. It's not bad right now--75 degrees--but supposed to get to 91. Ron is going to call the AC repair guy. Yeah, on a holiday weekend. :o(

I'll be back.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Celebrating Cammie

The blue-eyed princess.

She shared her crown with Aubrey.

Reece is hiding behind his angry bird.

Happy Birthday, Camryn!

Our little Cammie turned three years old today. She's been singing "happy birthday" to herself for the past few days.

They are all outside swimming and playing right now. Josh will grill hamburgers later, and we will have yet another cake and ice cream family party.

Happy Birthday, sweet Camryn!

I love you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Musical Beds and Birthdays

We had a nice weekend here. On Saturday Ron, Reece and I spent some time at Mom's, planting her Mother's Day flowers and herbs. Ron planted her tomato plant while Reece and I worked on the other stuff. Her patio looks and smells wonderful now! She enjoys her plants so much, but keeps moving the braided hibiscus inside. I think she is worried that it will be stolen.

On Sunday we went grocery shopping for Mom. She was out of coffee and low on all kinds of things. Now she is all stocked up again. By the time we shopped for her, then took the groceries to her and put them away, I was worn out.

But it was Ron's birthday, so Reece and I made a birthday cake for him when we got home. Josh and Cyrise made kalbi and rice for dinner, then we sang happy birthday while Papa blew out his candle. The kids are so cute about birthdays.

The little girls both have birthdays this week, Cammie on Wednesday and Aubrey on Saturday. I think we're celebrating them together on Saturday with a little family pool and patio party. Our month of May is so filled with birthdays, we celebrate all month. Then we have a couple more in June--Lily and Reece.

I stayed up late last night, listening to music on YouTube. I finally went to sleep, then Reece came and got in bed with us. He was restless (or maybe I was), and I finally got up and went and got in his bed. Then Josh came in bringing Aubrey back to her bed. She had gotten up in the middle of the night and he found her blanket and Reece's kindle downstairs. He said she came into their room and was wiggling his toe. So we had a night of musical beds. :o) I didn't sleep much at all and went back to sleep in my own bed this morning after Reece went to school. I got up and took my shower, getting ready to go to Mom's, then Josh said he and Cyrise would go if I wanted. So I put the little girls down for their naps and now I'm enjoying the blessed peace while they sleep.

I had Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream with raspberries for lunch. Yum!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jonah!

Wow, you are four years old now! That's great.

Your Honey told me that you had a birthday party at the park on Saturday. I bet that was lots of fun.

You and Uncle Ron share a birthday. He is going to have cake and ice cream today. You had cupcakes at your party, didn't you? I like cupcakes.

Have fun today with Honey and the rest of your family. I'm sending you big birthday hugs.

I love you!
Aunt Sharon

Happy Birthday, Ron!

We love you!

Hope you're enjoying your new cowboy boots. :o)

(And your Saws All).

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Update

I got Rituxan when I went to the BMT clinic on Wednesday. First time I've had any kind of chemo in months. It is to combat the graft vs host, not because any new cancer cells have been found. Getting it takes about 4 hours, and isn't bad. It does make me feel a little yucky for a few days afterward. I'll get it for the next three weeks. :o(

The kids had a meeting at Reece's school on Thursday, which is why I went to the clinic on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I stayed with the three little girls. The meeting was to discuss Reece's testing and whether he should be in special ed. He will be in a regular classroom next year, but will have tutors for certain things during the day. He is able to learn, but it takes him longer than it takes most kids. Josh and Cyrise had asked for him to be tested at the beginning of the school year, and now, two weeks before the end of the year, they've finally done it. He could have had the tutoring all this year if they had tested right away. There was a problem with the school counselor and she was replaced, but it took months to get a new one. I think that may have been part of the problem. Even though he never complains and likes some things about school, this has been a long, stressful 10 months for our little guy. We'll be working with him at home this summer, hoping to get him caught up to where he should be.

Josh and Chris have put down the new floor in the family room, except for installing the trim and baseboards. I love the way it looks; now I want it everywhere! The guys did a good job. Ron helped with some of the cutting, but they did most of it. I'll be glad when everything is done though, so we can get the furniture back in place. I've been looking online at area rugs. Whoo hoo, shopping!

We'll be celebrating Ron's birthday this weekend. Other than that, no special plans. I'll be back.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mike!

Hope you're having a super birthday!

All of us send you best wishes for this new year of your life.

We love you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sam-I-Am and Little Sis

Sam-I-Am was sitting on my bed this afternoon after he came home from school. I love his big smile.

He likes playing with the PhotoBooth on my computer.

But he likes to act silly, so most of the videos he makes are goofy.

His little sister likes to do whatever he does, so she wanted to be Sam-I-Am too.

She won't leave her clothes on. I don't understand it.

Reece being silly, Aubrey being cute.

It rained hard here this morning. Josh went to Gran's by himself, taking her some leftovers and groceries (and her meds).

I've had a lazy day and it felt nice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Update

What a nice Mother's Day we had. Mom, Kelly and I went shopping for plants. We got Mom a braided hibiscus, a patio tomato plant, four different herbs and two kinds of petunias for her patio. I'm going over to help her plant them today.

Kelly got me some veggies and herbs, too. They smell so good and I can't wait to get them planted. I'll do a container garden like we had last year. That worked out pretty good, putting them on the stairs to the deck.

Kelly also gave me a pendant necklace and a very special bracelet that she made. She has been painting the sweetest tiny pictures on polymer clay bases. My pendant has a little wren on a branch; I love it!

The bracelet and its meaning nearly made me cry. The centerpiece is a tiny painting Kelly did of a healthy lymphocyte (how it looks under the microscope after staining). The beads she used all have special meaning, too. Some are the colors in the painting (the purple nucleus and light blue border), or the colors associated with leukemia and lymphoma. There is a larger amethyst bead. The whole thing is delicate and pretty. I will treasure it always. I know that it is a symbol of her prayers for my health and her love for me.

Josh and Cyrise cooked for us, and dinner was wonderful. Cyrise baked Josh a delicious birthday cake for dessert. My runny pie was a hit, too. I poured off the liquid and it was fine. Kelly thinks the liquid from the meringue leached down into the pie. I bet she is right, because the recipe for the meringue called for water mixed with cornstarch blended into the beaten egg whites. I'd never made meringue that way before, and it was fine immediately after baking, but not after sitting in the fridge overnight.

The kids wanted Great Gran to get into the pool with them. She put her swimsuit on, but the water was just too cold for her. They were content that she put her feet in the water and stayed near them. They all love her so much. She enjoyed the day.

Jason called me in the afternoon. It was nice to hear his voice. I'll be glad when school is out so that they can come visit.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Josh found my Kindle Fire last week. It had been in the dash pocket of my car all along. Ron checked the car for it, but for some reason he didn't look in there, and I didn't look because I thought he had. I had written it off as lost and deregistered it with Amazon, but it was simple to re-register it.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Josh!

Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

We love you.

Happy Birthday, Caelen!

We love you!

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope you are planning a day filled with lots of family and fun. We're picking Mom up around 1 PM to bring her over for a cook-out, and Kelly is coming over, too. Josh and Cyrise are grilling raspberry chicken for us this afternoon; one of our favorites.

I'm planning to take Mom to the nursery to buy her a patio tomato plant or two, and some flowers. I ran out of shopping time yesterday. I like giving her plants for Mother's Day. When she lived in Kansas, Johnnie used to always plant the little flower bed along the front porch for her for Mother's Day. Mom loves flowers.

Ron and I went shopping for flooring for our family room yesterday. I've been wanting to pull out the carpet in there for years, and we're finally going to do it! Josh's friend Chris has put down flooring in his mom's house and in his house, and Josh helped him with some of it, so they are going to put ours down, too. We got all the flooring and trim and the stuff needed to install it. I'm excited! The pic in this post is from the Lumber Liquidator site and shows the floor we chose. I like it because it's handscraped to look old, and I love the dark wood. If it gets banged up, it won't really matter because it's already "distressed." :o)

Josh and Cyrise took Reece, Aubrey and Camryn to the park last night to watch a movie. The city furnished popcorn and drinks and showed the movie Rio. They didn't stay for the whole thing because the kids were exhausted, but they all had fun. They came home all happy and excited, and went to bed over an hour past their bedtime.

I made a banana cream pie yesterday. It took me forever. I made the crust in the morning, and it was supposed to chill for 4 hours or longer. So I stuck it in the fridge until evening. I baked the crust, then made the filling while it cooled. I used my mother-in-law's recipe. She always made the best pies, and banana cream was our family favorite. She would always make them for us when we went to Wichita or if she came to visit us. I also used her recipe for the meringue, and it turned out so pretty. I had a piece of the pie last night, and the girls asked for some this morning. But this morning, after a night covered in the fridge, the pie looked awful! The filling got runny and the meringue shrank. It still tasted good, but it's ugly! Cammie liked it, but Aubrey took one look at it and turned up her nose. She wouldn't even taste it. :o)

Better get a move on! Happy Mother's Day to all my sweet readers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Rainy Day

Josh and I went to the BMT clinic this morning for my labs. The results: they are normal! Dr. O said "not only are they good, but they're perfectly normal!" So no need for any kind of transfusion or treatment.

I think my graft vs host is much better, but Dr. O thinks I'm still way too red. Part of the reason is that I've been scrubbing the dry, dead, flaking skin off every time I shower. He said, "You can't rub your skin off down to the normal skin!" Anyway, he's keeping me on the same meds for another week, and wants to give me Rituxan next week to help get rid of the gvh. I don't really want it, but he said it will help, and that the double benefit is that it will also target any hidden cancer cells (although we don't believe that I have any). It will be a course of 4 infusions of Rituxan over 4 weeks. He's anxious to get me off the prednisone, and says the Rituxan will help with that.

Oh wow, it is thundering like crazy right now. It started while we were at the BMT clinic this morning, and has continued this afternoon. It's really gray and drippy. And a little bit cold. I put on a sweater.

Josh has gone to pick up puffy tacos for our lunch. We stopped at Mom's and I made her a toasted chicken salad sandwich that she ate with chips and pickles and a cookie for dessert. Josh took Teddy out for her since it was raining.

I'm looking forward to Reece coming home from school so I can snuggle him up!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday With The Grands

Not much going on this week. We've had more rain, and it's supposed to rain for the next three days. That's okay, we need it. And it's much cooler this week--no 90 degree days for awhile.

Josh, Cyrise and Aubrey picked Reece up from school today, then went to Great Gran's and ran by Cyrise's dad's house to check on his cats while he's out of town. Cammie and Gina stayed with me and were very good girls, watching the Ponyo movie that my niece Kori got them for Christmas.

Ron got home early today. The exercise they've been working on for the past week and a half is finally finished. They've all been working such long hours, I'm sure they are glad it's over.

My graft vs host is better. I'm still peeling like crazy, but I think it's because my skin is healing. Thank goodness! I'm not so itchy, either. I'm taking the prednisone, the tacrolimus and another steroid (plus about a half dozen other meds). I guess it's the steroids that make me want to eat all the time!

No clue what we'll have for dinner tonight. I made 15 bean soup and rice for dinner Monday night, using the leftover Easter ham in the freezer. Cyrise made a pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes and cauliflower last night. I wish I had thought to put something in the crock pot this morning.

I baked some canned biscuits yesterday and used up the strawberries in the fridge to make strawberry shortcakes. I ate three of them! I can't resist strawberries, and as I said, the steroids make me want to eat like a piggy.

Now I'm going to help Reece with his book report for the week. He worked on his journal Monday and Tuesday. He drew the picture Monday and wrote the three sentences yesterday. His journal entry was about making cookies with Gramma. He drew the two of us putting cookie sheets filled with cookies in the oven--so cute.

Hope you're all having a great Wednesday!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday in May

Ron and his co-workers are still working the exercise. He had to work all weekend, going in at 6 AM and not getting home until dark. I think it lasts all this week, too. We're all missing him, particularly Reece. But at least he is home at night, not having to stay in a hotel somewhere far away, and we are grateful for that.

We had a storm Saturday night and lost another limb from the big tree in the back. A tree trimmer once called it a "trash tree," meaning it was weak. He recommended cutting it down, but I don't consider it a trash tree. It was here before this house was built, and it gives us lots of shade and a place for the birds I love.

Reece and the little girls have been in the pool almost every day for the past few weeks. Reece is getting tan. I love watching his progress as he gets more and more comfortable in the water. He still swims with his face out of the water a lot, but he is beginning to realize how much easier it is to put his face in and glide. He's a natural!

Aubrey is getting braver, too. I think she will be swimming on her own this summer.

I'm enjoying a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, with cinnamon, brown sugar, dried cranberries, pecans and apple chunks. We sometimes stop and grab breakfast to take with us to the hospital, and McDonald's has oatmeal that seems healthier than other choices, so I usually get that. But homemade is even better!

Hope you're having a great start to the new week.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Chatter

Ron's been busy with an exercise at work all week, so he hasn't been able to take Gran's meds to her, or her lunch. So Josh and I have been going, except for today. Today Cyrise wanted to go, so I stayed here with the little girls (who were supposed to be napping) while they were gone. They took Gran a chicken fajita pita. She likes those. :o)

Reece's school had field day today. I remember doing that when I was little. It was always so much fun. He had a special purple t-shirt to wear. The kids said that each class had a different color shirt, and the colors were all mixed up on the playground because the big kids help the kindergarten kids. Everyone at his school seems to know Reece. :o) I hope he had fun.

My doctor put me back on the tacrolimus when I was at the BMT clinic yesterday. My graft vs host disease is not much better. All my labs looked good, though, and I didn't need blood or anything. My skin is a mess, though.

I lost my Kindle Fire when I was at the hospital last week. I was hoping my doctor had found it in his office (pretty sure that's where I left it), but he didn't. Housekeeping probably picked it up, and you never get anything back if they get hold of it. We had everyone looking for it, and Josh and I went down to lost and found. Nope. I shouldn't be allowed to have nice things--I always lose them. :o(

The gvh makes me really tired, so I've spent a lot of time sleeping the past few days. But I did manage to get the bills paid this week. I usually procrastinate until the very last minute, so it feels good to have that done!

Looking forward to having Reece home for the weekend, and sleeping in past 6:30 AM. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day and Feast Day!

It was cloudy here this morning, but looks like the sun is coming out now. It's been in the 90s every day, and will be all this week.

My esperanza (yellow bells) is blooming. This is an old pic of it. See the bee in one of the flowers? I love the bright sunny color.

I made a lemon cake this morning, and that's what I had for lunch, with a cup of Earl Grey with agave nectar that Cyrise bought. It was delicious. (I had healthy oatmeal for breakfast, so I didn't feel bad about having cake for lunch). :o) It was a nice change from chocolate, white or yellow cake.

The girls got up so early this morning, so they went down for their nap a little earlier than usual. Both of them went right to sleep; guess they were tired.

Today is May Day, and also the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker. So many people in our country are unemployed. Here is a a prayer asking for St. Joseph's intercession:

Dear Saint Joseph, you were yourself once faced with the responsibility of providing the necessities of life for Jesus and Mary. Look down with fatherly compassion upon me in my anxiety over my present inability to support my family. Please help me to find gainful employment very soon, so that this heavy burden of concern will be lifted from my heart and that I am soon able to provide for those whom God has entrusted to my care. Help us to guard against bitterness and discouragement, so that we may emerge from this trial spiritually enriched and with even greater blessings from God. Amen.