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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

Thanksgiving


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!


Lots of great stuff happened this fall but there was a lot going on in the background during our activities which just made everything hard.  Taylor had an accident at his day program October 2nd which ended up affecting most of our fall.  He fell while having a seizure and being changed and knocked his front tooth up into his gums.  This meant dentist visits and seeing if the tooth could be saved.  It was so swollen and he wouldn't hold still for a panoramic x-ray so we wouldn't know for two weeks that his upper jaw was broken.  We just knew that he was in a lot of pain and was not wanting to eat or drink.  This meant dripping calories into him with a syringe, visiting instacare for IVs etc.  Then once we knew for sure it was broken it meant surgery to get the tooth pulled and the jaw patched together.  Unfortunately, although he was no longer in pain he still refused to let anything touch his mouth and it was getting harder and harder to get any nutrients in him.  So eventually I took him into the ER, which showed that he had lost 16 pounds, 4 liters of fluid and had a sky high ammonia level.  So he was in the ICU for a few days then the regular floor until he was relatively stable.  Then onto to Stonehenge a nursing rehab facility for another week with a feeding tube while he got stronger.  Then finally home!  It was a long 6 weeks!  After a few days I stopped staying at the hospital over night which made life easier but those 6 weeks left me just tired!



With that going on in the background and sort of affecting everything, we had some very cool moments as well.  Jeremy got to go on a week long cruise with his brother Jason through the Bahamas as part of an incentive trip with Organo.  They had a great time together and enjoyed the warmth, food, beach and all the fun that goes along with that.  It was work for Jeremy doing photos and telling his story but he also had a ton of fun.  On the way home someone stole his camera case from right next to him.  Due to the kindness of strangers and friends, it was found and returned to him, all in one piece.  It really was a miracle in my eyes.



We had fall break and slipped away for three days while Taylor stayed with respite.  We went to Bryce which was beautiful and super cold at night.  I think we are too wimpy to camp when its 22 degrees at night!  The girls couldn't help but compare our "family vacation" with Jeremy's "vacation"  It was a great time though and we got to go on a horseback ride which was probably my favorite part.  We all learned that vanity over wearing puffy coats and thermals quickly vanishes when you are cold!  And that I will always make sure a hike happens no matter what.  We brought bikes but only broke them out for a few minutes as it was just too chilly.  One benefit is that if felt like we had the park and campground to ourselves!  It was beautiful and still one of my favorite places to visit.


Jeremy had a century bike race in St. George with two of his friends.  It was quite an accomplishment for him.  He loved the sign at the end right before a big hill that said, "its a hill.  get over it."  Figure that summed up what was going on right now!  The day he came back is the day he started his new drug Sutent.  This one is really having some tough side effects for him.  Took a few days to kick in but then wow, its been rough.


Allison went to Disneyland for five days with her theater group including her really good friend Julie. They played hard and went to some amazing dancing and acting classes.  She had the best time and came home to crawl into bed and make up for all the lost sleep.

Robyn had rec volleyball twice a week and loved it.  Most of her team were volleyball champs but they were super kind to novice Robyn and taught her and cheered her on.  We told her its the best way to learn is to surround yourself with really good people!


Allison for her birthday got tickets for her and her friend Evy to see Come From Away.  Thanks to Evy's parents who arranged to get them from the state football game to the theater and then back home as Taylor was still in the hospital.  ThenAllison had a trip to SUU with her Evy for a weekend.  Jeremy drove them down, hung out at a hotel and then brought them back.  Allison had a great time checking out the campus and college life.



And lastly, the week Taylor came home was also the week our carpet for upstairs was scheduled to be put in.  It was awesome and totally worth it but a real pain to clean out every bedroom and closet.  I was extremely grateful for those men in our ward who came over to move all our big furniture out of our rooms and then came back the next night to put everything back.

So just a few things going on this fall and the best part besides Taylor being home is coming up.  But that requires another post.