Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy Dance!

So, we had our annual appointment at the Children's Hospital today. Josh had a visit with his amazing oncologist and we had an MRI tonight. Thank goodness we only do this once a year - it's exhausting! I remember how hard it was when we were dealing with this every day and I'm so glad that's not our life anymore.

I hope I'm not jinxing us (although I really don't believe in stuff like that...) but it looks like Josh has been issued another clean bill of health. Two more years of annual scans and then we are DONE! Crazy exciting. Our oncologist, Dr. D, told me today that the long range data from the clinical trial that Josh was a part of looks really great. That hopefully translates into many more years of great health!! Honestly, it's still amazing to me how good Josh's health is, even after all the poison we pumped into him... I'm very thankful that we were able to avoid radiation therapy because I'm pretty sure Josh's health wouldn't be where it is if we would have had to do that. So thankful that our oncologist had the foresight to enroll us into that clinical trial and that it worked as well as it did.

We'll get the all clear call on Monday, but Dr. D did happen to mention that if there was anything suspicious on the MRI, Radiology would call him before we left, so if they let us out the door, we're probably good  :) No one stopped us on the way out, so I'm taking that as a good thing. Besides, Josh passed all the "how is your cerebellum working" tests with Dr. D and that's usually a good indicator that everything is fine. 

Josh was a little stressed about the blood draw today. Funny story, though - John, from the Hem Onc Clinic did the labs (as he ALWAYS does every year!) and Josh had a hard time with it. First he asked whether or not they had to do it (to which John replied "Absolutely, because even though you were young and don't remember how hard it was, your mom remembers, your dad remembers, your grandparents remember and I remember. And no one wants to go through that again.") and then he cried just one tear during the poke. When the poke was over, John asked Josh how bad it actually was (which it really wasn't bad at all), and then told him that he bets that at some point this weekend Josh will do something to himself that hurts worse than the poke did. About half an hour later, Josh was dancing in his socks in the room and wiped out flat on he floor - which hurt significantly worse that the poke did  :)

The whole point was that the worrying about the poke was worse than the poke itself - and Josh wasn't worried about hurting himself any other time this weekend, but we thought it was funny how John's prediction came true before we even left!

So, here we are - 8 years out - and there is light at the end of the tunnel!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Turning Tragedy into Good

You may have seen this organization on Yahoo just a couple of weeks back. It's called "Dresses for Jake's Dates" and I think it's awesome. Now, keep in mind that all I actually know about this organization is what the Yahoo article told me and what I can see on their Facebook page  :)

Anyhow, I LOVE when people turn something tragic into something good. In this instance, the family of an infant boy named Jake, who died from SIDS, decided to start an organization where they collect fancy clothes for people to borrow when they can't afford a prom dress, etc. What a brilliant idea.

Here's why I love it.... my parents have 4 kids. Kids are expensive, lol, and although we NEVER went without, I'm pretty sure that large expenses like prom dresses had to be planned for. My sister and I always had amazing dresses, but being a parent myself, I hate to imagine being in a situation where I couldn't afford things like that, which are so important (especially to a high school girl!!!!!). 

Another reason why I love it.... I have a lot of respect for people who survive an unthinkable tragedy and instead of letting it make them angry and bitter, they make something good come out of it. I've been through awful stuff (my kid had cancer - enough said), and I KNOW how easy it can be to let the anger and unfairness of it all take hold of you, and how HARD it can be to put one foot in front of the other and just make it through the next 5 minutes of your life. I said terrible things to people who didn't deserve them out of anger and fear. I've seen how easily some things can rip a family apart. I was lucky - my family came out of it in one piece and we're in a much better place now, but not everyone is as lucky as we were. 

So, for others who make something good out of something awful, I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration.

The fact of the matter is, I had fancy dresses hanging up in my basement. I had already donated a bunch to a dress drive quite a few years ago (that's where my "stylish" high school dance dresses went), but I've been a bridesmaid quite a few times, and even though some of those dresses have been donated to places like Goodwill, I did have 4 more that were just hanging there.

They all have sentimental value (we girls and our dresses!). I have the complimentary bridesmaid dresses that my sister and I wore when our cousin (who has always been more like a third sister) got married a couple of years ago. My sister asked me to keep her dress and find someone to share it with. There's the dress that my mom bought me when I was a bridesmaid when she got remarried. My sister and I had matching dresses. They were so tropical and pretty. The wedding was on the ocean in California - we thought it was going to be warm and sunny but instead it rained and was SO WINDY. We were shivering and our teeth were chattering, but it was so worth it! There's also the dress that I wore when I was pregnant with my littlest one and was walking my biggest one down the aisle to stand up for my beautiful little sister on her wedding day. That dress is one that could be "worn again", but I haven't worn it since - the memories that it has are already too special. 

Actually, all the memories are too special - I don't want to record over them with anything else. Plus, I doubt they'll fit as well now as they did then! So, I won't wear them again, but I would love for someone else to. I would love for them to make some other girl feel beautiful. I don't have a daughter to save these for (and even if I did, I'm sure they would be SOOO out of style by the time she was old enough for them). 

I've been holding on to these dresses FOR their sentimental value for quite a while now (they've made it through two other sessions of donating), but when I read about this organization, I felt peace that this is where they should go. I don't know why - for all I know no one will ever choose them, but if the right girl comes along, they'll be waiting for her. Hopefully she can create memories for herself that are as awesome as the ones I have.

My dress for my cousin's wedding.
My sister's dress for our cousin's wedding.

The dress I wore for my mom's wedding.
MOH dress for my sister's wedding.

Here is the link for the Facebook page for Dresses for Jake's Dates if you're interested in learning more about the organization and what they do:

There isn't anything else like this that I could find in my immediate area, so I am ok with shipping my dresses off to Oklahoma. I'm sure it helps that I feel like I can relate a little bit with making something good come out of something awful...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Winter some more!

So, I realize that I JUST posted about the weather yesterday, but this was too ironic to pass up! It has been snowing like crazy all day long (go figure...). We actually ended up closing work early tonight because of the weather! 

I left work at about 6:30pm tonight. My 25 minute commute took a nerve-wracking almost 55 minutes! I make it into town safely, get the littlest one from daycare and pick up the pizza waiting for me at Pizza Hut since the biggest one and I had both not eaten dinner yet. I'm driving down my road and I'm thinking to myself "man... this road is terrible!". I attempt to pull into my driveway and I get stuck at the end. Tires spinning, back end hanging out into the road - there was so. much. snow. that I could not make it through. 

So, I call my husband - who has been working non-stop since the bad weather hit - and I tell him what happened. Lucky for me, he was in between calls and could swap out trucks at work and bring home a plow truck with a chain to yank me out and then plow the driveway really quickly so I could get into the garage... 

We've lived here almost 4 years and this is the first time I've gotten stuck in my own driveway. We've been keeping it plowed, too! It's just that with the amount of snow we've been getting and the fact that it's been snowing nonstop all day long, we can't even keep up!!!

I love my husband a little bit more tonight, and I'm hoping he makes it home at some point before the weekend! The kids and I are betting on a snow day tomorrow... that will be nice for them - I still have to go into work at some point. The winter storm warning doesn't expire until noon tomorrow, so I hope I don't get stuck again trying to get OUT of my driveway in the morning!!!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


So, I look out my kitchen window and this is what I see... Luckily my half-monkey children are pretty good with stuff like this, and really, even if they fall, do you see how much snow there is at my house??? I did have to encourage my littlest one to move back towards the center of the beam because I was just a little concerned that if he fell by the "A" frame, he would hit it on the way down  :)

As you can see, it's definitely winter in Michigan. We didn't have really ANY snow until just a few weeks ago. Lake Michigan gave us a run for our money with the Lake Effect a couple of times and before I knew it, we had quite a few inches on the ground. Actually, I would say that for the last 2 1/2 to 3 weeks, the weather has been simply awful.

We had a few winter storms that dumped at least 8-10 inches at my house. Then the temperature shot up into the 50's (for real!!) and everything melted, but there was SO MUCH FOG that you almost couldn't drive in it. This was about 2 or 3 days in a row. The White River up here has actually been at flood stage because all the melting snow raised the water level so much!! The temps fell again and we got more snow. Like 6-8 inches in just a couple of days. So, everything we lost, we got right back again. School was canceled for my boys three separate times in a two week span! 

To keep things super interesting, we have another Winter Storm Warning going into effect at noon tomorrow. It's supposed to start snowing tonight and get really bad tomorrow. They're predicting the possibility of a snowfall rate of 1 inch/hr!! Oh, and that's for 12 hours. So, if conditions are right, we're looking at a chance for another 12" of snow ON TOP of what we already have on the ground! Probably won't happen, but yikes!

My boys (and dogs!) are loving it. Rick has been plowing all the snow in the driveway into a hill in the front yard, so they've been out there every day sledding. Every time we shovel off the deck for the dogs, we're piling all that snow up to the edge of the deck and they've got a mini sledding hill there too.

I'm sure towing companies and commercial snow plow drivers are happy to have stuff to do (we really haven't had decent snowfall for the last two winters). I honestly don't mind it, as long as my commute to work and home again isn't treacherous!!! I'm not a fan of my 25 minute drive taking 45 minutes each way. I will say, though, that I'm very happy with how my car handles! I was a little nervous because I just got it in June, so this is the first winter I've had it, but I definitely feel like it's deserving of the high safety ratings!!

Hubby's not a fan of the traction control (he'd rather have the control himself), but lucky for him, there's a button you can push to turn that off  :)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guess it's about time to blog again...

Well... seeing as how EVERYONE else is making an effort to restart up their blogging machines, I might as well jump on the bandwagon  :)

Although they all seem to have WAY more interesting stuff to post than I do!!

We're about 48 hours into 2013... our New Years Eve was a quiet one. We had "big" plans of going to a NYE party at family's house, but alas, the Holmans would only be a party of three.... There's some super strange virus making the rounds at my house, and apparently at 6pm on NYE, it was my turn. Not awesome. And super inconvenient! I was all dressed up and ready to go until the nausea hit. Fast forward a few hours (during which my three boys went off to party hearty - although they were back by midnight to be with me (aww)!) and after a little bit of a nap, the worst of it was over. Well... there was a ton of residual yuck, but the most acute symptoms had run their course. Of course, New Year's Day, I still wasn't feeling 100% - and Rick was knocked flat on his back with it.... That entire day consisted of watching football (UofM was in the Outback Bowl) and movies.

Even today I still feel a little "off", and my biggest one ended up in Urgent Care earlier, but I'm cautiously optimistic that the worst is behind us and the nasty little bugger has moved on to bigger and better things! 

Not how I would have chosen to ring in 2013, but as always, I'm thankful for each and every single day  :)