Sunday, June 29, 2014

Too Fast

My mom went to the doctor Thursday afternoon. She had been feeling very tired and was having some bad indigestion after eating. He didn't like the looks of her abdomen and did a liver function test. It wasn't good. They did an X-ray. Not good. A scan revealed what we were all dreading to hear, the cancer had spread to the liver.

We were all devastated with this news. My mom's situation was now terminal. We knew that. We knew you absolutely don't want to have cancer in your liver. But we thought we had some time, weeks, months maybe.

I planned to fly out the next week, after the Fourth of July, and spend a week visiting her as much as I could. On Friday we waited for a call from the oncologist as to what the newest findings meant for mom. What we were really waiting for was how much time did she have left. We waited for many hours that morning. Darlene and Sean went over to Mom's house and left a message with the oncologist. By lunch time we still hadn't heard anything. Then Mom had a very scary seizure. Dar was home with her by herself. It was quite terrifying. 911 was called and Mom was off to the hospital. From the hospital Dar called me and Denise. I called Bill and Donna.

We are thankful for the seizure now. It got us all there to her side. Bill and I got on the last flight to Burbank. Donna cut her weekend in Seattle short and got a flight to LAX. Denise and Dave literally got off a plane headed for Reno as they were closing the doors and drove straight to the hospital. We were all there by 11:00 PM. We found out she had cancer in her brain from the MRI. Mom was coherent but groggy. She was so happy we were all there. If she understood why she didn't say so. She was starting to have more pain and they began morphine every six 2-4 hours. We spoke with another doctor that night who revealed she also had cancer in her lungs. We asked to bring her home to die.

Darlene, Donna and I spent the night by her side. In the morning she began to have more pain and agitation. They had to put her on a morphine drip. She was no longer responsive to us. Her breathing became very labored. Around 7:00 PM the ambulance left the hospital with Mom and myself by her side. Everyone else went to the house to wait for her arrival. My Aunt Helen had arrived and my Aunt Bonnie arrived shortly after. We put her in the bed that had been set up by hospice earlier. A little before 8:00 she stopped breathing, peacefully. Only 45 minutes home. But home nevertheless, with her family all around her. We had prayed for a quick death without a lot of suffering and our prayers were answered. I had only been in California for 24 hours but it seemed like two weeks. Everything happened so fast!

We will will miss her so much. On Friday we will celebrate her life. A life we never expected to end so soon. Good bye Mommy. We love you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Four Years Ago

The World Cup is going on right now. We have some special memories of the last World Cup. We were in Spain at the time. We rejoiced with Spainards when Spain won their game in the round of sixteen at a small restaurant in Madrid. We cheered with Spainards as Spain won their quarter final at a bar in Marbella. And we clapped with Catelonians as Spain won their semifinal game in a bar in Barcelona. (Catelonians don't always consider themselves part of Spain we found out.) It was all very exciting. When we got home we watched Spain win the World Cup! And our lives were never the same again. But not because of the win. Not even because of the trip.

Dan and I wanted to go on this trip for our 30th anniversary in 2010. And we wanted to take our three adult children. We were not together that much as we lived in Colorado, Beth lived in San Francisco, and Becky and Joey lived in L.A. We thought it would be a great way to spend some undivided quality time. I had a premonition that things were going to change soon and if we were ever going to be able to do this it was now! I was pretty sure one of the kids would find a significant other soon and wouldn't want to leave him/her to go on a family trip. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how much our family would change in the next four years and that we would never ever be a family of five again!

At the end of June 2010:

Becky had just started dating Arek.
Joey was friends with Brittany's cousin, but hadn't met Brittany.
Beth knew who Greg was, but he had a girlfriend.
Mia was our foster child named Selene and was supposed to be integrated back into her birth family that summer.
Anna was in her birth mother's womb half a world away.
Avery, Maks, and Ben were enjoying heaven.

But now they are all here and part of our family and we wouldn't want it any other way. We are so blessed!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our Favorite Park

Today we went to one of our favorite summer places, Belleview Park. We were a little disappointed that the petting zoo doesn't open until this weekend, but we had a picnic, rode the train and played in the creek. And we'll go back soon with Max and see the animals.

Anna doing the new Anna pose.

Mia wanted a picture of the dam she built.

Not to be outdone, Anna wanted a picture of the birthday cake she made.

In case you are unsure, yes it is the stick coming out of the ground.

They should sleep well tonight!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cleft Clinic 2014

It's been two weeks since I took Anna to her annual cleft clinic. We had two followups. At the dentist they put another fluoride varnish on her remaining top front tooth. They are trying to save this one. It has a small cavity, but hopefully it can hold on until her permanent teeth come in. At the ENT followup we learned her adenoids are getting very large and affecting her speech. They will have to come out.:( We were hoping there would be no surgery this year as her hearing is good even though her tubes have fallen out. number 5 will be on June 30th! It should be pretty minor and she still may end up getting another set of tubes if he sees fluid behind her ear at the time.

Anna pretty much cracks us up at the things she says and does every day.

I love that these two love each other so much!

We will have to get in water time over the next week and a half as if she gets tubes, it's no swimming for three weeks!

Still loving summer!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Carnival Time

Friday we went to our community carnival. We don't spend a ton of time there yet. We went on four rides and had a snack. It isn't like when the older kids used to spend three days straight at our church carnival! But it may be that way someday. I overheard a lot of kids at gymnastics today talking about their weekends spent at the carnival.

But for now we get by with buying two sheets of tickets rather than a wrist band and when we're out of tickets it's time to go home! They don't ask any questions and what they don't know won't hurt them!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer is Here!

Summer is here in Colorado! We ate to leave during the summer months. It is so beautiful here! We have been going to the pool at least once a week.

We have even spotted movie stars sunning at the pool!

Mia got this Slip and Slide from a friend for her birthday and we put it to good use.

Lovin' summer!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekend Visit

This past weekend we were blessed to have Joey, Brittany, Avery and Ben visit. Yes, that means five tots five and under roaming around!

They all got along pretty well.

We had dinner outside with a barbecue on Friday. Max did not want to be in this picture. At all.

But he was happy with a pic on Mom's lap.

Ben is at the age where he only wants Mom or Dad if they're anywhere in sight.

We didn't do too much. The kids played and played and we went to the indoor pool.

Anna played priest and Max was the deacon.

Grandpa and Grandma got to spend some time with them too!

Poor Avery got sick about half way through and then it wasn't so fun for her. And they all had to spend an extra two and half hours at the airport due to our crazy tornado weather Sunday. But...I hope that they had fun and that they'll be back soon!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Memorial Day

It was great to see Mike and Donna! Dan had never been to their house and they've lived there 7 years! We love their home.

There's a forested backyard with feeders for squirrels and birds. We saw a lot of these, plus a raccoon that was pretty entertaining!

The girls loved the movie room. At least, Mia did. Anna didn't like the adults being in a different room.

On Memorial Day it rained most of the morning so we just hung out at the house. After lunch the skies were clear so we headed over to the lake and park. The lake is called Lake Sacagawea and this is a statue of her. We took a picture of it for Becky as Sacagawea had her baby wrapped.

A group of people sent up balloons to remember fallen soldiers. I was a little late with the camera. See the specks? Those are the balloons. What a great idea!

We got to watch a mama duck lead her babies around.

We also got to feed the ducks!

Later the girls played on the playground for a long time and then we went back to the house. On the way we went under Squirrel Bridge. Look closely at the picture. It's a little hard to see as I took it through the window glass. It's literally a bridge the city created so that squirrels could cross the street without getting hit all the time!

Back at the house Donna cooked a great paleo dinner for us. Paleo fish sticks! The next morning we left for the Portland airport and home. Great vacation!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Port Defiance

Our first stop on the way to Longview was Port Defiance. We planned on visiting Fort Nisqually there. I love these restored living history museums and there are usually some things for the girls to do. As we entered Port Defiance we saw a trail that went through a beautiful rain forest. Though it was drizzling outside, the trail looked dry due to the overhanging trees. So we stopped and decided to take a little hike.

There was no grade and it wasn't hot at all so no one complained! Dan showed Mia how to count the rings on a tree to determine how old it is.

We got to see real raspberries growing naturally.

Since there wasn't a trail map we didn't risk going on any left or right turns but plowed straight ahead and after a while turned around and came straight back.

It was a sweet little side jaunt and afterward we headed for Fort Nisqually, a British Fort that held out even after the property was purchased by the United States. It has been completely restored.

We've been to many many living history type places, but never have we seen a fully stocked mercantile.

You get a good idea of how almost everything you ate and used was homemade as the store was stocked with only basic supplies for cooking, hunting, sewing, etc. I felt camaraderie here since I basically have to cook all of our meals at home nowadays to stick to our paleo diet. Thank goodness I don't have to sew! Or hunt! Well, I am trying to talk Dan into hunting so we can have natural grassfed meat for free. He looks at me like I have two heads. Hey, it's a big thing here in Colorado!

This boat made from a tree did not impress them at all.

They played stick and wheel races and dressed up in period clothes. Gotta love Anna's enthusiasm!

There were several crafts they made, including one using a photograph machine that was around in the 1850's. I don't know where the pictures are for this, Dan's camera? I'll add them in later.

Upon leaving the fort, we found a Japanese restaurant to eat an early dinner at, having skipped lunch. We then drove to Longview to spend Memorial Day with Donna and Mike!