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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Winter of 2019

Doing the seasonal updates as my standards are dropping faster than pictures are piling up!

January started out with my parents visiting which is always a good time.  We got to do the Hall family Christmas party with them, attend the play The Odd Couple for my Dad's birthday and just enjoy hanging out and visiting.  And then they left, school started again, Jeremy left for a trip to Florida, masters classes started with SUU for me and reality was back in full swing.  Highlights of the month were celebrating Robyn's birthday with a night at Color Me Mine with a friend, getting her bottom braces on, and doing a mom/daughter date to see Wonderland at BYU.  My birthday was at the end of the month and I was grateful for friends and co-workers who showered me with love.  I decided that seeing a show was a great way to celebrate birthdays so the girls and my friend Brenda and I (Jeremy had to work), got to go check out the new Hale Center Theater in Sandy.

Jeremy had a few big photo jobs in January including a convention in Orlando, working at the Sundance Film Festival and Silicon Slopes. Jeremy's CT scan showed that the tumors were growing quite rapidly so we started pursuing having him be in a clinical trial.  It was a long process but eventually resulted in him getting into the clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

Allison had a Sweater Swing dance, Save Ferris dance, and a Sweethearts Dance and loved all of them.  I am not sure how much they enjoy the actual dance but all the activities surrounding the dance, day dates, games, dinner, photos etc are always a good time.

Allison and Robyn tried out for their theater group's play and have been busy rehearsing and practicing.  Allison decided to try something new and is running for student council for next year.  Robyn decided to branch out as well by going out for track and had her first track meet.  I love that they both are trying new things and branching out to find their talents.  In February we got to redeem our Christmas presents by going to see Wicked together.  It was worth the wait!

Jeremy does photo shoots and client work from home, working around how he feels and the family schedule.  Getting into the Mayo Clinic was rather a long process with lots of ups and downs.  I was able to fly out with him for a weekend to go through the initial visits and tests.  I am so grateful that my sister-in-laws family is willing to host us every time.  We got to do some hiking, visiting, and sleeping along with the creepy waiting rooms in the basements of hospitals.   Jeremy got into the trial eventually and was chosen to take the placebo or the 3rd tier drug.  So far he is is handling it better than the other drugs although the pain from the tumors has been increasing.  It hasn't stopped him from living as much as he can including even presenting for my school's career day.  His friends threw a spin-a-thon for him at the rec center was was amazingly ridiculous.  I biked for 2 hours and then left to do kid duty.  Other insane super in shape people though made it the whole 5 hours.

Spencer is loving his mission and seeing God's hand in his life.  It is definitely work for him but one that he really enjoys.  He was made a trainer a few weeks ago and enjoying helping someone learn the ropes. He turned 20 last week which still blows my mind.  With the changes in missions we got to start talking to him every week which has been awesome and a learning process at the same time.  A lot of the things he talks about can seem like gobedly gook as he tries to explain all the tools he uses to help people with their family history.

Taylor caught a cold which ended up with him dehydrated and miserable which is par for the course.  Besides that he has been liking his bean bag, fireplace and little dog to cuddle with.  He has even started laughing at time which we all love.

We got to have the Hall clan over for Super Bowl Sunday which is always a good time.  With us being so close we try to get together once a month for dinner.

The rest of life is wonderfully the same full of all the things that seem so ordinary and yet are what give beauty and meaning to our every days.  Robyn trying to figure out how to build a bridge of popsicle sticks, Jeremy taking the girls to lunch, Sunday naps, and yard work plus everyone having jobs and school, errands and everything else.  I think sometimes looking at the surface of our life it looks so ordinary most of the time, even the cancer treatments and trips are just becoming part of our life.  And then something comes along like me getting strep or Jeremy getting initially refused for the trial that just feels like hitting a brick wall.  But most days, the regular days that I try not to take for granted are amazing and full of God's love and peace.  I am thankful for these normal days...and brownies.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Finishing out 2018

December went by way too fast.  I finished up classes and enjoyed a month of just working and vacation days with family.  The above picture was the result of a Sqrd Christmas party we were invited to and challenged to Make It Matter.  It was a great message as we tried to think of what we could do within our own family.

Jeremy hit another birthday which we celebrated the weekend before with a surprise trip to see Jim Gaffigan, stay over night in SLC, and then have brunch at the Cheesecake Factory before heading home.  It was wonderful to get away, relax, and just spend some time together.

Jeremy was able to go be a part of a GIST patient board to help a pharmaceutical company learn about patients' experiences.

Allison had a Preference date and scored with a dad who knows how to do pictures.

Jeremy had another scan at the end of December with some disappointing results.  He has many new tumors plus previous tumors have grown.  So we are currently looking at clinical trials.  With this growth has come an increase in pain and discomfort which is hard for everyone.

Taylor continues to be chubby and happy with a very snaggle tooth.  He met with the neurologists this month and everything looks good for now.  He put on a Christmas program with his day program which I just loved.

For Christmas this year it was just our family.  Best Christmas present of all was talking to Spencer for two hours.  We couldn't get the audio to work very well but loved just hanging out with him and seeing how much he loves his mission.

Christmas involved ice skating, oreo truffles, watching Elf and eating nachos, more movies, more books, lots of nail polish and food, and just being home together. 

The rest of the break involved fun things that I didn't take a single picture of!  Like having my parents come visit for a week to enjoy eating at Red Iguana, going to a play 'The Odd Couple', and just doing all the family activities.  We had the Hall get together where we exchanged cousin presents, ate waffles, and went to see Mary Poppins. 

To end the year I took Robyn and some friends sledding.  It worked out beautifully.  As they happily froze for 3 hours in the canyon, I would dart out and take pictures and then retreat to my warm car with a book and herbal tea to watch them.  Robyn and Allison both had friends over for New Years Eve while I was the old parent reading a book, nibbling on cupcakes, and just hanging out in the other room.  Everyone struggled going back to school and reality after such a wonderful break.  Family down time has become quite precious in this house.

Sunday, December 2, 2018


The older I get the more grateful I am for our family and friends and awed by who they are and what they do.  We were super excited this year to have my brother Daniel and his family join us for a week.  They definitely brought the party and love with them and we just had the best time being spoiled rotten by all their attention and ideas for activities.

Robyn got to be checked out of school and go tour BYU with them.  I am still trying to convince my kids that BYU is the place to go...along with all my nieces and nephews!  They even stopped by my classroom so I could show them off and they brought me flowers which just still makes me smile.

We watched the Nutcracker with littles and Fantastic Beasts with the adults.  We went to a BYU basketball game.  Daniel took ALL the kids with him to go swimming while Mimi and I baked away.  We visited, played, shopped and just had an awesome time together.  I wish Denver wasn't quite so far away!

Thanksgiving Day ended up being a rainy day for most of the afternoon which cancelled our traditional hike.  So we played games, ate, watched the muppets, football and the Macey's Day parade, did a puzzle and trolled through Black Friday sales.  Kelly and Jason's family joined us along with Kelly's parents.

Mimi and Allison took off for Black Friday shopping.  A tradition which Allison loves.  I don't think so much for the shopping as for the visiting and talking with Mimi.  Friday, all of us girls went out for a bit to check out a few sales.

Friday night we went up to Temple Square to see the lights and for the bigs to see Savior of the World.  While walking in we ran into Spencer.  He definitely had a deer in the headlight look but I got to hug him before he quickly walked on with his district.  Small miracle for me and one of the best Christmas presents.  Jeremy took little kids and Taylor home to go to bed and the rest of us stayed for the play.  Always gives me a new perspective on the story of Christ and what it means to me.

It was a wonderful, way to short Thanksgiving break!