Sunday, January 29, 2012

You don't know how strong you are

...Till you have seen your weakness.

I never thought I would be doing this, taking care of my child with a terrible disease.  Hoping and praying he lives.  When I saw others go through this I would imagine for a moment what I would feel and it would overwhelm me.  I always thought God would never let that happen because I was simply not strong enough.

In the days after the diagnosis I kept saying I didn't know how to do this.  I didn't know how to be strong.  Then I looked at Liam and knew I would find the strength.  His spirit is strong, but his body is weak.  If his spirit can be that strong when his body is that weak, surely my spirit can be too.  I will be his strength when he doesn't have any of his own.  When his hands hurt from the steroids I will be there to pick him up.  When he cries and is sad because he hates his meds I will smile for him.  I will have the strength because he is my son, and he needs me to be.  I will be strong and I will fight for him.

This might be both of ours greatest weakness but in it we will find our greatest strength.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

PSA: Donate Blood...Rescue a Dog

There a lots of suffering kids at the Children's Hospital.  Its so hard to walk the halls and hear kids crying.  I look at the people that work there, and how compassionate they are.  I don't know how they do it.  How they get up each day able to face those kids without breaking down all the time.  I am so grateful for all the drs and nurses, they are truly special people.

I am also grateful for all the people who give blood.  My husband and I both did our best through the years to donate when we could.  I would do plasma and my husband would donate blood.  Now we have a face to put to it.  And what a cute face it is.  When you donate blood you are saving the life of someones child.  My child.  He is smart and cute and sweet.  Yesterday he made me a Valentines Day card.  He smiles everytime I walk in his room.  Someone made that possible.  Thank-you for donating.

There are volunteer dogs that come to the hospital.  Yesterday we got to meet a dog that looked just like ours. A cute male setter mix named Mallory.  He was the sweetest dog, laid down on my sons lap and fell asleep.  Honestly one of the most gorgeous, nicest dogs I have ever met.  And this poor dog was abandoned twice.  The volunteers adopted him from a rescue.  I looked at this dog, imagine twice being abandoned, thinking how crazy people are.  But then I realized, if they hadn't given up that dog, if that dog wasn't there to be rescued, we wouldn't be sitting there petting him.  Marveling at how awesome he was.  The volunteer said she was gonna rescue dogs from now on, because of him, how great he turned out to be.  My son was thrilled, he smiled and smiled.  He misses his dog, it was nice to have a reminder of what waits for him at home.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My 7 year old has Leukemia

If that isn't an attention grabber.  If you have wondered where I disappeared to, it was to the hospital.  It was a long tough road to get a diagnosis, but when it finally happened I was not ready for it.  Lets recap...

In March of 2011 my newly minted 7 year old complain of heal pain.  We took him to a pediatric urgent care in the middle of the night.  They did xrays and determined the swelling was due to a sprain not a break.  We gave him tylenol, ice and bandaged it.  For awhile the pain went away.  In the summer the pain returned.  This time it was on the other foot.  We again wrapped it, iced it and gave him tylenol.  Nothing helped.  We made a visit to the family dr who told us, it was tendonitis and to keep him off it.  I was livid.  By this time he had not walked in a week because of the pain.  He was crawling everywhere.  I told her he wasn't walking and therefore wasn't on it. Her response?  "Oh good."  She totally did not understand what I was telling her.  She got snippy with me and asked if I wanted to see an Orthopedist.  I said I did, I honestly didn't care who she sent us to as long as it was someone who actually wanted to help.  We saw the orthopedist and she diagnosed it was Severs.  We took him to therapy for 2 months.  While he maintained his strength the pain persisted and he was still not walking.  Back to the orthopedist for more testing.  Blood work and an MRI and more xrays.  This time we saw some shading on the xrays, shading in the MRI and his blood work was all over the place.  We repeated the blood work and it actually came back better.  We also did a bone scan and a soft tissue scan.

By this time my 7 year old has now had an MRI, 2 sets of labs done, xrays at least 4 times, a soft tissue scan and a bone density scan.  We were told the possibilities were Cancer or Arthritis. We waited for the test results with baited breath.  Finally, the orthopedist said she thought it was Arthritis.  But that only the rheumatologist could give a definite diagnosis.  The Rheumatologist ordered another MRI, this time of his legs.  And he wanted a bone marrow biopsy.  He wasn't convinced he was leaning more towards leukemia.  Meanwhile I was a human pretzel.  I was scared.  Really scared.  I didn't sleep.  I didn't eat.  When we got the diagnosis it was Sunday morning.  I was home with the kids and my husband was at the hospital with my 7 year old.  He told me over the phone, "It is leukemia."  I broke down.

My 4 year old ran and locked himself in his room.  Momma was crying hysterically and he was scared.  I pulled myself together, I knew I had 8 other kids to care for.  And I had to tell them.  If hearing the diagnosis was the hardest moment of my life, then telling the kids was the 2nd hardest.  My oldest said, "I didn't know life could be this hard."  And my heart broke again because kids should not have to know this pain and fear.

He has spent a week in the hospital now.  We are hoping he can come home tomorrow.  He needs to go back every week for his chemo, twice a week to therapy.  And we will hope and pray he will go into remission and kick this thing in the butt.  Because I need my son to live.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Years Resolution 2012

Last year my resolution was to read more books than I did in 2010.  Which I did, soundly I might add.  In 2010 I read 13 books (my goal was 12). Which if you think thats flimsy I would say, Walk a mile in my shoes. Anyhow, in 2011 I read 21.  So my resolution for this year is 24, 2 a month.   And I am telling you all this, to hold me accountable.  If I start slacking on my reviews (which should be 1-3 every month), yell at me.

I also included this year to try 1 new recipe every week.  That means by the end of the year I will have tried over 50 new things.  The kids are very excited about that one!

And lucky for you, I resolve to write 8 blog posts a month.

Honestly, these resolutions are more about managing my time better than just about anything else.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Belated Monday Craft: Georges Seurat

Late again because of sick kids.  Today we are creating art via Stippling. For the younger kids I gave them some coloring pages (which you can print out or create your own with some black markers if you don't have any coloring books around) and the older ones I have free reign to.  We talked about Georges Seurat and gave the older kids some handouts to read.  Be sure to click on the links so you can print out your own hand outs.  If you have a bunch of kids I suggest just pouring some acrylic paints onto a paper plate so they aren't fighting over the jars.  Be sure to have enough pencils or qtips for everyone.  When you do this, you need very little paint on your eraser each time.  So if you are pouring some out even the smallest amount will get you a lot of painting.

These guys are all doing free form.  Whatever their little heart desires.

This one was done by one of my little guys using a  coloring page.

One of the finished products.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wished I could have blamed the kids

Mission: Retrieve Helmet
The other day I knocked a GI Joe helmet down my dryers lint trap.  It all happened in slow motion.  I cleaned the screen and when I went to replace it I knocked the helmet which went sliding right down the chute.  I looked down there and couldn't see it.  I tried to grab it with the wire hanger that I straightened (seen at top of picture). Which did not work.  As with all questions we don't know the answer to - to Google I went.  Which of course had the answer.  If you have thought it, its on Google.  I had already filled the dryer with wet clothes, of course.  And I couldn't move it so I had to wait for dh to come home.  But we did get back GI Joes helmet.

In case you need it, this is how you get stuff out of a lint trap.  And if you have kids, you will probably need it.   I wished I could have blamed the kids, but lying is wrong.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year and Homeschooling

It would be easier if school started in January and ended in October.  With all the holiday stuff to squeeze in and then the post holiday blues to deal with in the new year.  And New Year is all about new beginnings.  Of course I am saying this now as I really really don't want to grade school work.  So it was perfect timing when I saw this article today about Homeschool Burnout.

Thankfully we aren't doing our bowling league again till the Summer.  So we won't have to disrupt our school days to take field trips as much.  But as it is I already have half our weeks planned in the next 6 weeks.  Its hard to say no to everything that comes up but sometimes a little down time is just what you need.