Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BENefit

On Friday I was finally able to attend the annual BENefit that the Ben Towne Foundation has put on for the last several years.  It was a much anticipated evening for everyone in attendance, all 1,700 of us.  This year there was a new location that could accommodate as many that wanted to come, in years past they've had to turn people away, but with such a worthy cause they found a bigger space and people flooded in.  It was a great night, I saw several of Georgia's nurses and doctors, saw friends and was so happy to have my sister as my date.
The work that the Ben Towne Foundation is supporting is incredible, they've had 10 trials and each person has gone into remission, this work needs to keep going.  People are finding the work that is happening at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research inspiring, so inspiring that when they asked for donations to support this research moving people answered.  In 10 minutes the people in attendance donated a total of 1.6 million dollars, 100% of that will go to research.
It felt good to be a part of changing how children will be cured of cancer, we are living in a place and during a time that can make this possible.


With the evenings host, Joel McHale

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pre-K

When's it my turn, mom?  This is the question I've heard over and over for the last week or so.  Finally, it was Georgia's turn today, her last year of preschool.  This morning, in between squealing with delight and asking if it was time to go yet, she was singing "I'm going to pre-K" over and over.
I'm really excited for this year, each day her class starts with a meeting between the kids and teacher, she'll be doing "reports" writing stories and of course, what would preschool be without art?
Last week Georgia received a letter in the mail from her teacher, she also received some homework to complete and bring with her on her first day.  She worked hard on it, writing is not Georgia's most favorite thing, if her letters don't look just how she wants them to she doesn't want to keep going.  I kept encouraging her and she was pleased when she finished it, her answers melted my heart.
Leo and I dropped her off today where she gave her teacher a big hug then was off and running, not surprisingly I had to find her to say goodbye.
It's these days that I am struck with feeling so grateful, my baby is growing up.. I have brief seconds of not being able to believe that she's almost five, or that this is her last year of preschool but I always come quickly back to being so happy, the gift of a healthy child and the opportunity to grow are not something we take lightly.

 My name is: Georgia
I am 4 years old
I live with, Leo, Mom (Mo and an upside down M) and Brian
When I grow up I am going to be a: Doctor
I am special because: I want my family to be healthy and I love them so much

 Jumping with delight


 Whose going to Pre-K?


 Since being home, Leo is wandering around, calling for Georgia.

Go get 'em my girl!!

18 Months

Happy 18 Months to my coffee swigging, beer stealing, wine tasting, always hungry, full of energy, all boy, boy! Let's try and leave your mama's beverages alone son, you're 18 months... not 18 years old!
Leo, you are so fun, funny and full of life.  You are always climbing up on chairs and tables to steal our food and drinks, I've started calling you my little scavenger!  You have new words almost daily and will try just about anything your sister does.

Two weeks ago we started Little Gym, to my surprise you wanted to be held for most of the first class, but warmed up in time to push a little girl down to get a ball - we've got some work to do sir, that is no way to treat the ladies!  This week you wanted to be held a little less but knocked two girls down to get a ball.. c'mon Leo!  


Every night you and Georgia do rounds of knock knock jokes, if someone doesn't answer your "na-knock" you just say it louder and louder.  You know how to throw one heck of a fit, flailing, and crying when you don't get what you want, you have a strong opinion and want what you want, no question. 


You love music and dancing, as soon as one song ends you say "more, more" until the next one comes on.  You and Georgia love to dance around the living room, you're often spinning in circles until you land on the ground then laugh with delight.

You continue to be fascinated with older boys, particularly our neighbor Jack and your cousin Blake, you talk about these two regularly.  Soon enough you'll be off running with the big boys but for now, I still call you my baby.


Here are some pics from Labor Day Weekend, courtesy of Auntie Leslie..



 Don't worry, it was empty





Monday, September 1, 2014

Survivor

Each school day 46 children are diagnosed with cancer, October 4, 2010 was our day.  I remember it so clearly, I replay it in my mind, thinking about the moments, even seconds before we heard the word cancer and my life was changed forever.  Once you have a child who is diagnosed with cancer, life can never be the same, certain wounds to a parents heart will never fully heal.

In recent conversations with Georgia, I have learned that she doesn't remember being sick, living in the hospital or even having an NG tube.  She knows the words cancer, leukemia, chemo, and can spot a piece of mail from Children's Hospital but she doesn't remember the details of that time.  I was floored, I am so relieved that she doesn't remember, but part of me thought, how is that possible, this thing that did a 180 to my entire existence and she doesn't remember?   Her doctors told me throughout treatment that she was too young to remember, I of course was adamant that she would given how stressful things were.

For now, Georgia's cancer, treatment and care for her long term health is something that sits in my lap, she doesn't need the burden of it all, she is doing exactly what she should be, she's being a kid.  She's carefree, full of happiness, loves her friends, and happens to be one of the most remarkable human beings on the planet.

The heart wrenching thing is that when you are diagnosed with cancer, you are never simply done.  Georgia will need to understand what has happened to her body, she needs to be aware of the chemotherapies she endured and she, one day will be in charge of her own health.  So the real sucker punch that cancer gives a mother is the burden of news to share, picking the right time, using the right words and reliving it in a whole new way.  

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are participating by raising awareness and celebrating our survivor.  Please do your part to spread awareness and support causes that research childhood cancers, they are different than adult cancers yet often given the same decade old treatment.  There is so much happening in the way of new progressive treatments for children, we need treatments that will not have impacts on these growing bodies, ones that don't require conversations on how as adults they will need to survive the effects of the very treatment that saved them.

Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. 

In the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease—more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined.

Less than 5% of the National Cancer Institute's annual budget goes to childhood cancer research.

http://www.stbaldricks.org/why-we-exist?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=textad&utm_content=leadingcauseofdeath&utm_campaign=why-we-exist

http://bentownefoundation.org/whatwedo/

When I went to take Georgia's Survivor picture, I told her what the sign said and tried to explain what the word Survivor means.  I told her, this has to do with when you were sick, now you are strong and healthy" seeing confusion (or maybe just boredom) on her face I tried a different approach, I said, "this means you won" she smiled, she likes winning.  I told her, being a survivor is a big deal!  "Mom" she said, "you know what else is a big deal? What? "Being able to watch the ipad." What can I say, she's your average four year old.















Friday, August 22, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS ice bucket challenge has certainly gone viral, I see multiple posts daily on Facebook taking the challenge to raise awareness and funding for ALS research.  I went to college with Steve Gleason, he lived in the fraternity across the street and was close with several of my sorority sisters.  I have watched his battle and have been in awe of Team Gleason and what they are doing to change the life and treatment for those battling ALS.
Today, Georgia was nominated by her cousin Lauren to take the challenge... challenge accepted!  It was 65 degrees, we told her she could wait until it warmed up a bit, but Georgia was adamant that she wanted to do it right away!

Go Cougs, No White Flags!

To find out more about Team Gleason and how you can support finding a cure for ALS check out the Team Gleason website:

http://www.teamgleason.org/

video

Seventeen Months

I'm nearly a week late on this update, in my defense I have been running around after a very active little boy! Leo, 17 months old, wow!  It is so fun to be able to watch you grow, we are experiencing so many firsts with you, when Georgia was 17 months, she'd just started walking, was bald and very immune compromised.  You are running, climbing, flailing and generally don't like to sit still, I'm taking you tomorrow for your third haircut and I giggle when I see dirt on the side of your mouth.
You're all boy, you get so excited when you see big trucks, love loud machinery, think it's hilarious to show me where your nose is by sticking your fingers up it and when you don't get your way you can throw quite a tantrum.
I call you the clean up crew, after any meal, once you're out of your highchair you crawl up onto any open chair at the table and finish whatever food has been left.  I have to believe you do this because you think you're all grown up, by the amount of food you take in at your chair, I can't believe you are actually still hungry.  One morning I was sitting, eating breakfast and you climbed up onto a chair, then the table and took my spoon and proceeded to finish my cereal, all smiles.
Your vocabulary continues to grow, beep-beep for trucks, hock for hot, na-knock for knock-knock.. those jokes happen often here.
You love to give big hugs, squeezing tight and kisses, complete with smacking lips.  You do your best to keep up with your sister and all the things she can do.  You love to be tickled, your giggle is priceless.
Most importantly you are happy and healthy.  We recently had blood work done and I am happy to report that everything looks normal, even down to those baby monocytes!  I wasn't worried but certainly welcomed the confirmation that you are healthy and thriving.
I love you my boy!

 A rare moment, sitting still
 Cereal thief!
I can't decide who is happier about your love of paddle boarding

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer fun on the South Sound

We just got home from a fun-filled few days at Nana and Bawdy's house down on the South Sound.  Between the kiddie pool, ocean, boat, paddle board and beach we certainly packed in the fun.  We saw friends and cousins, enjoyed the summer weather and squeezed in some relaxation between activities.  Thanks for a great time, Nana & Bawdy!

It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride

 Holden, Landon & Georgia, the only way to capture these three.. in motion


 Leo thought Landon was pretty awesome

 The kids had a blast when the tide went out, at first the mud was tiptoed in, then it became a game of how dirty you could get. 
 Sister to the rescue, Leo was stuck in the mud!
 My, we've come a long way!
 Leo was trying to have the full boating experience.. not to worry, it was empty
 Georgia dressed Nana for dinner, any guess on what her favorite color is?

 Throwing rocks
 Mama and baby seal


 The kids and I went tubing, they both loved it!
 S'mores
 Leo's new favorite hobby, he sat perfectly still and enjoyed the ride
Leo was so relaxed on his second ride that he fell asleep, sitting up.  The kid that doesn't sleep was lulled by the ocean, I took him inside, laid him down and he slept for three hours.  I'm now considering investing in a paddle board!
One tired sailor
Anna & Georgia, the bobsie twins

 Brian's last ski behind the Freedom before it was sold


Goodbye Freedom, thanks for all of the adventures!