Monday, December 29, 2008

Turtle Shells, Twigs, and an Amazing Brother!!!

These are pictures of a tea my brother is drinking to help with his healing! Would you drink this? At first I said, " ARE YOU KIDDING? NO WAY!!!" But then, life is so precious and it really does help him so he can eat and digest food. He is fighting like a true soldier at battle and doing it with such dignity. He left today to head back to Tulsa ( goes every two weeks) for another round of Chemo. He is so positive and looks amazing that honestly I forget he is fighting this monster. He is now weighing 167 and was down to near 130-- AMAZING!!! Not only he is doing his traditional treatments, but is seeking wise advice and help from natural methods too. He heard about this herbalist from China that is well known from one his his doctors and he made a special prescription for Kary and it does actually include the shell of a turtle!!!! I guess the tea smells HORRIBLE, but he drinks it with full force to get better. He knows God is healing him and has led his to some amazing help both at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, but also through alternative medicine. They (Kary and Regina) have cut out deodorants that are not natural, microwaves, plastics, drink gallons of green tea, eat organic and have amazing attitudes!!!! They are following the book called The Anti-Cancer Diet-- they think everyone should follow this even if you are healthy. I am praising God for my brother and that we were able to celebrate Christmas together. His wife is doing a terrific job of taking care of him and helping with his diet. We are thankful to her too. "Here's to Health!"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

We finally bundled Malachi up and took him out in the snow last night. He has been wanting to go out, but once out, he had second thoughts and shed some tears. We had walked quite far from home so the kids could sled and finally he fell asleep on the bumpy ride home. The jogger did ok in the snow. It was too icy to put him on our backs.

The kids had fun making gingerbread houses and even more fun licking their sticky fingers. They were so cute trying to get the walls to stay on the cartons. I am not a creative-type gifted mom, but love letting my kids just go for it. I was the student who never had things posted on the bulletin board as a kid-- truly! But the teachers were actually sparing my diginity. I LOVE letting my kids just get in there and get messy and figure things out. They do a great job and love arts and crafts and anything they can create. I enjoy watching them even more than if it was me making wonderful creations.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Am A Happy Woman Now!!!

I just picked up my favorite tired man at the train station. Thank goodness for the MAX!!! He arrived in at 11:30 pm.

I am so happy to have him home. He had an interesting time riding home with two strangers ( I thought it was 3, but only 2). It actually could not have been better. One man was an ex-Crip and now sings amazing gospel music. In fact I am listening to his CD now as I write. Then the other man lives outside of Portland and runs a construction company so he had a great time talking shop with him. They all exchanged numbers and plan to stay in touch. Not all bad in a tough situation:)This is right up Aser's alley as he lived in so many places growing up around the world that he can get along with anyone. I will sleep peacefully tonight!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nightly Routine With Our Now 21 Month Old Big Boy

" I will get there if I can..."

My tired man was on a plane at 6:00 this morning in Sacramento. We thought he was actually going to make it by plane. HOWEVER, Portland could not get the runway cleared so OFF of the plane he went. He was able to find three other men on the plane as determined to be home as he is and they all rented another SUV to drive home. Hopefully after dinner I will actually see my tired man and give him a huge hug!!!

I'll Be Home For Christmas.... Hopefully not only in my dreams

What a day to try to fly to Portland! My man flew from Dallas to Los Angeles on Friday to see family and friends before planning to come home on Sunday. This morning as I was hearing the weather news I was sure his flight would be cancelled. YEP- First flight with Alaska Air was.. they did not want to fly anymore planes into Portland. So I quickly got him a ticket on Southwest leaving close to the same time... Yep, that was also aborted. ( Yes-- with built up cabin fever I will say a few tears did happen). Then the airport service told him he could fly out Christmas morning--WHAT???? This is crazy... Well, my resourceful hubby rented a SUV to make it through the snow to come home. He just called me at midnight and was in Sacramento. Half-way home! He stopped to see if there were any flights leaving in the morning as he has the most dangerous part of the trip left. At first my searches said no flights available. I tried SW three times despite saying they were full and BEHOLD-- I was able to purchase a ticket for him for LESS THAN the rental for one day... YEP, a bargain right in the middle of the snow storm. Now we will see if he actually gets to the airport on four hours of sleep and hoping the plane actually braves the weather. Tonight they said it can take over a thousand gallons of de-icer to get a plane back into the sky.

As you can see in my earlier posts I love driving in the snow...but not the ice! So he will have to take a train home. Even parts of that are shut down due to ice on the lines--wow! They have a shuttle bus to get him the rest of the way though.

I think he will want to sleep when Malachi does tomorrow:) Hopefully this is the end of travel woes.

Oh no-- I thought I would have more time to clean-- I may not sleep tonight:) He will not care, but I do, so off I go!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mappin' It

It has been almost a week now with snow. Tonight it is freezing rain! Aser is supposed to fly in tomorrow night, but this evening most flights were being cancelled. I have been really feeling his absence this week and having to wait seems very hard. I really hope he makes it. I have to keep the big picture in mind. If we find out that his plane is coming in the kids and I may brave the MAX ( Train Systen in Portland) to meet him at the airport. It will depend on how stir crazy I am at that point and brave ( maybe stupid too) .... It will be GREAT to have him home for two weeks. I think the kids have missed him more than I know. Today my Rebekah mentioned how in the mornings she wakes up and it is hard thinking she will not see daddy all day long. My son has also said little things about how much he misses his dad and then much silence. Anna prays for him like there is no tomorrow and that is how her heart processes it all. Lydia misses having a fluffed pillow each night. I don't do it the special way daddy does:) I think I am just less patient than I want to be and stay up WAY too late for quiet time. Malachi is just not sure what is up with this family...

The map on the side of my blog is new. I am amazed how you can track such things from all around the world. Very cool... I do know they can not read blogs in Ethiopia so I will not have dots from eastern Africa. That is when I realize what freedoms we do have here and take for granted.

This is Lydia's snowman. Anna made one too with a skirt and shoes -- very cool!

I had fun driving in the snow today. Yes, they were asking people to stay off of roads, but Rebekah had a birthday party to go and that seemed very important when you have been couped up like a chicken. Then tonight I took the kids for a little spin around the neighborhood. Again, I am sure Malachi is wondering what is up with his family:)

We did do some more Christmas cookies and I even made a pumpkin bread. I have been trying to have normal dinners for the kids too and so we ate until our tummies were full tonight. It has been tempting to do just kid-type quick dinners, but I have wanted life to seem somewhat the same for them.

Hoping to see my guy tomorrow:)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Just Knew--

"I know!" is all I said as I answered the phone after midnight exactly 7 years ago. I did not wait for any, " hello" or explanation... I just knew! I had been in the shower for over an hour crying and coming to terms with what I believed was happening. It sounds so strange now, but I can go back with little effort even today.The voice was not audible, yet just as clear. I just knew!

We had just spent the day with my entire family, over 25 of us, in Eugene celebrating Christmas. My dad was sick and had been fighting cancer just like a warrior. We were hopeful he would be chosen to start a clinical trial in February that looked very promising. He was so loving that day to each one of his children and grandchildren. He always was, but went out of his way to say something to each of us. I wonder if he knew? He told me how proud of me he was and loved my children. Then he thanked Aser for being such a wonderful husband and father. He told him he would have never asked for better than him. ( I do agree!) Many of my siblings and nieces and nephews took pictures with him. I did not as I felt like it would be admitting that I thought he would not have another chance with a photo with me. He joked and rested with us for the whole day and even made it back home.

This was several hours later. My mom said he was tired when they got home, but we never thought it would be this.

After I was able to pull myself together I came downstairs to see if the light was beeping on the phone telling me that the call had arrived. There was no light, no bleeping... I thought I had just taken myself for an unneeded ride. I was relieved as I went to turn the light off. My hand had not even left the light switch and the phone rang. I did KNOW!

I raced over to my parent's home as many of my siblings raced to be by his bedside. As I entered the door I heard the breathing and knew that I knew. My tears had already been cried in the shower so I was able to have an unearthly peace and really be in the moment with my daddy. We gathered on his bed as he was very coma-like and prayed for a miracle. We told him how much we loved and appreciated him. I asked him to tell mother one more time how much he loved her. One time and one time only he sat up and reached to my mom and grabbed her hand. He could not speak and fell back into his coma-like state. It was shortly after that his breathing changed and then slowed down as we lay next to him. It was a strange peace that was with us. I know God was with us as we were saying goodbye to him on this earth.

I had no idea how hard it would be to get used to life without him. I can grieve with hope as I know I will see him again. I know my kids will be able to run to their papa again. It has been very hard watching my mom adjusting to life and she has shown strength she did not know she has. Despite the sadness God has comforted our family in ways I have no words for. We will be together again.

Seven years ago today I just knew!

Sliding to the mall

The kids did not have school today. I don't do well staying home despite the news saying you should. The kids and I made the trek to get grandma and then to the mall to walk around and have a treat. The roads were icy, but we did great. I am thankful for 4-wheel drive. I know this is funny to those living in the NE, but us Oregonians are just not used to this. I think this has been the hardest part having Aser gone for so far. He is the one who helps to make it fun with tying ropes on sleds and we usually take a 2 -3 mile walk in the snow. I am still trying to figure out how to do that with Malachi on my back. I am just feeling sorry for myself tonight without him. He is supposed to be here on Sunday right in the middle of another ice storm-- Oh MY!!!
We did have fun today with a big pancake breakfast and then the kids played outside and then we were off to the mall. We ended the night with DVD rental and the kids were so cute all pj'd up with pillows crashed under the Christmas tree...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Series of FORTUNATE Events

Aser had to be on a plane back to Louisiana this morning by 6:00 and the airport is about 45 minutes away. We were under a winter snow warning and knew lots of snow and ice were coming so did not want to take a chance with me being stuck at airport while kids were sleeping. Aser was going to drive his truck to the airport and I would pick up when weather allowed... BUT I was supposed to feed a neighbor's cat for this week and she called last night to make sure I was still able to do and mentioned she was leaving for the airport at 4:15-- BINGO! She had hired a shuttle and so Aser was able to catch it as well and made it in plenty of time to the airport. However, he first had to fly to MN and got VERY delayed leaving and so arrived in Dallas at 9:00 this evening ( Texas time) with another 3:1/2 hour drive back to LA. It will have taken him over 18 hours to get back for a 36 hour visit. I don't think I will be asking him if it was worth it or not--

Then my brother had to take his wife to work so they stopped by here and left Brittany for awhile to play with kids in the snow. They had a blast EVEN as the snow was blowing sideways and almost seemed blizzard -like. I wish I still had the desire to play that hard even if I can't feel my hands and feet. Hot Chocolate was more like cold chocolate milk in a matter of minutes. We are not used to this is the Pacific NW!

I did go out driving for dishwasher soap as I have a real problem with hand washing dishes:) Oh THE THOUGHT!!!! ( I am not really that bad--just close)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Home for 36 Hours

Aser flew in last night at midnight and leaves at 4:15 from home tomorrow morning. It was short, but wonderful and he was here for my side of the family Christmas party at my brother's house.

It is hard to get all the kids looking one direction for a picture. I have five kids in my family and four of us were there tonight. It is wonderful to have Kary, my youngest brother, there as we did not know if this would be a reality. We so miss my sister and I just hope she knows how much I still love her. I did see her briefly last February and am hoping that somehow I will run into her this Christmas. We are a huge group now and my nephews and nieces have started having kids too. Kary and I were 9 and 10 when our sibs started having kids so they are all adults now too. It is so cool that Malachi has young cousins( 2nd cousins) to grow up with. I also met a cousin that I have not seen since I was a young child and did not remember him. I have always heard about him but extended family things left us with no contact. It is so cool to meet someone with such a close family connection and see that there are so many familial things about them-- strange!

My kids just loved on their daddy and we are looking forward to Christmas. Malachi is very attached to his daddy and is at ease when he is around him. They are so cute together.

This Tuesday will be the first time I have had to hire a babysitter for Malachi. I feel very good about her as she knows him from the church nursery, but it is hard for me to leave him with someone other than my mom. I did have one friend watch him for a bit, but he has been around her lots. I am sure it will be harder on me than him, but I will be happy when this is on the other side of the calendar. My kids are in the Christmas program at school and I am the only one in our family that will be able to go and I want to be able to really watch and take pictures of them. M is not the quiet kind of baby that can sit through a program so I had to hire someone to come in...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Malachi does mean "angel"

Lydia loves playing the piano with Malachi. He is always asking to sit and play the piano. He LOVES music and I often wonder what the first song he ever heard was. Was it the song from his mother humming while carrying him or was he sung to while at Toukoul by his beloved nannies? This is the one way he loves to be comforted and I can sing "our songs" and you can just feel his body relax. He is precious and growing so quickly. The kids are just smitten with him. I don't think many babies who are 20 months have this big of a fan club.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Texas Style Cheese

This was my first visit to the south. I actually enjoyed it far more than I expected. I realized that I had my own "perceptions" about being in the south given the make-up of Aser and I. As with most perceptions I was incorrect based on my few days there. We actually had a great time and also went into Louisiana where he is working. I could not get over how clean everything was and the streets were so perfectly paved. One funny thing was we stopped for a quick taco and were served a HUGE bowl of Velveta -type cheese to dip chips in and I could only see saturated fat so we set it to the side... well, a lady sat down near us and wanted to know how we got our cheese. Well, she decided our bowl of cheese would be just fine for her and actually ate it off of our table. Her husband about died right there on the spot! ( and not from clogged arteries:) )

-- This was us at the MOST beautiful mall I have ever been in. It is in Dallas called the Galleria. The tree came up from the ice skating rink and was most amazing. We really have fun together and just love to hang out and eat, window shop, drink coffee, and walk and talk...

I am missing my man like crazy. This has been one of the hardest times for me so it was beyond wonderful being able to see spend time just the two of us. I so wish big blessings on my mom for making this possible. I came home to five happy children who were spoiled all weekend long.

Looking forward to Christmas--