Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Wonder

We've successfully made it through the first week of school. Eric likes his teacher and so do we. Mary is a junior this year and, as is typical for junior year - it will be her toughest year academically. The pressure is on junior year to not only get good grades, but also to score well on the SATs. Mary definitely has her work cut out for her this year, but I think she's up for the challenge. Hilary leaves for college in three weeks.

Of course, with the start of a new school year, I can't help but think about Jack and wonder what it would be like if he was going to school like everyone else.

Unbelievably, Jack should be in 5th grade this year!

I wonder if he'd like school.

I wonder what his favorite subject would be.

I wonder if school would come easy to him or would he have to work at it.

I wonder what color he'd want his backpack to be.

I wonder if he'd prefer to wear tennis shoes or sandals to school.

I wonder if he'd still let me pick out his clothes, or would he have a style of his own.

I wonder if he'd want PB&J or a turkey sandwich in his lunchbox.

I wonder what sports he'd be playing or what clubs he'd belong to.

I wonder if he'd come home from school and get his homework done right away or procrastinate like his brother.

I wonder if he'd be interested in girls yet.

I wonder how tall he'd be.

I wonder what his voice would sound like

I wonder what kind of music he would listen to on his iPod.

I wonder what his personality would be like.

I wonder if he would be a serious kid or a goofy kid.

I wonder what his friends would be like.

I wonder if he would be high compliance or a free spirit.

I wonder.

and it hurts.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back to School

This pretty much sums up Eric's opinion about going back to school tomorrow!

Wishing you a happier start to your Monday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Spy

Eric decided that he wanted to create his own "I Spy" book. He put together his first two pages this evening and asked me to take pictures. He wanted to know if I would be able to get book size prints of his "pages". I guess he's serious about this book. He's calling it "I Spy Around The House". Look for it on soon. (just kidding!)

(and yes, he did in fact hide things in the licorice)


We are getting into the school mode around here. Eric has "meet the teacher" tomorrow night. Eric says he knows who his teacher is because he had to go to her room a couple times last year when he had to miss lunch recess to finish work didn't get done because he was too busy entertaining his classmates instead of working. At least she already knows Eric and has an idea of what her challenges with him will be.

I think Mary is ready to get back to school because she's bored. I'm so happy she can drive herself to school this year. No more having to get out the door by 7am to get my kids to school -- for the first time in 7 years! It's also the first time in 7 years that Jack's nurses don't have to get to my house by 7am. Everyone is happy about that.

Speaking of nurses, things are changing a bit around here in that regard. Kristi has some things going on with her own family that is requiring her to take a lot of time off. Because we can't do without nursing, the agency has sent out two new nurses who will be picking up shifts. So far, I've been impressed with both nurses. To be honest, I think this change is good for everyone. I need to know that we have back-up nurses who can fill in when Kristi can't make it. Kristi has been our 4, 5 and sometimes 6 days a week nurse for the last seven years and I think she's ready for a break from Jack as well. Time will tell if things will work out or whether I'll be reaching for the Xanax (and the phone to call the nursing agency) soon. Wish us -- really Jack --- luck!

Hilary leaves for college on the 21st of August and the closer it gets the more freaked out I'm getting. She got her roommate assignment this week. Her roommate is from Massachusetts and from what I read on RITs website, they pair deaf/hard of hearing students with other deaf/hoh students -which is a good thing where Hilary is concerned. Hilary is on a co-ed, mainstream floor - Yikes! I guess my "little girl" is going to grow up whether I like it or not. (and I'm really okay with her growing up.) This is going to be such an excellent opportunity and experience for Hilary.


I thought I'd update a bit on my mom as well because I know there are some of you who read this who know my mom. After talking with some of my friends about my mom following her last surgery, they were surprised to hear that her recovery wasn't quick and uneventful. What I failed to mention is that my mom's biopsy wasn't a simple needle biopsy, they did another full blown craniotomy with the thought being if the cancer was back, the neurosurgeon would place chemotherapy wafers directly into her brain. He didn't have to do that, but he did remove the scar tissue. The fact is, when someone cuts into your brain, more likely than not, you will come out with deficits. My mom had quite a few deficits going in (she suffers from expressive aphasia). Her recovery following this last surgery has been slow, but I think she is close to being back to where she was before this recent surgery. She's been in the neuro-rehab unit of the hospital since July 3rd. She had another surgery on Tuesday to have a shunt placed because they think there is a build-up of fluid in the brain as a result of initial surgery. She was in the hospital a few days and now she's back in neuro-rehab. So, while it's all very good that the cancer isn't back, my mom is far from being "back" to who she was before all this started. It's sad, but we recognize how lucky it is that she is even here with us two years after her diagnosis.


I'll close with another picture of the brothers taken last night. Eric had been running around the house like a wild man and he was all sweaty. His hair looks goofy because I messed it up with my hands, it's not his hairstyle of choice!


Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day.
-author unknown

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dance in the Rain

This link has been going around FB and emails today. It's my "motto" and is definitely an enjoyable (2 minute) watch.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

He's Home ....

safe and sound! We were waiting at the assigned gate for his plane when I heard a page overhead for me to get to a different gate! Mary and I raced across the airport to the new gate and Eric was waiting for us without a worry in the world. I've had to hear how much better St. Louis is than Phoenix and how he wants to move there. He and Mary both! If only I could make a decent living and get nursing coverage there, it might be an option. (which I can't, so it's not an option.)

Eric and Mary have one more week off and school starts on the 27th of July -- I'm so not ready and neither are they!

Eric brought Mary back her favorite pumpkin muffies from St. Louis Bread Company

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Friday

Love Jack,

It's been a quiet week without Eric. I already shared this on FB - so, many of you have already heard this. But, I'll share again -- I was talking with Eric on the phone on Wednesday asking him how things were going and what had he and Peggy been doing. His response was: "Mom, I don't have time for the details!"

Needless to say, I haven't "bothered" him since. I sure hope Peggy can get him on the plane to come home on Sunday.

Have a great day and a great weekend.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

All By Himself

As insane as it may sound, today I put Eric on a plane bound for St. Louis all by himself. Trust me, it wasn't easy and I went back and forth for several months wondering if it was a good idea. The idea came about after our visit to St. Louis last March. The night before we left to come home, Eric was in tears because he didn't want to leave Peggy's house. He just loves Peggy ... and she him. Peggy and Eric have a special connection (she was, after all in the delivery room with me (and Mark) when he was born). Peggy says Eric is the son she never got (she has three grown sons - who, incidently, are all successful kids) because he has such a passion for learning and information and Peg is one of those people who will go to the zoo and read every plaque and exhibit sign .... and Eric will listen and ask questions - while the rest of us (okay, maybe just me) wants to hurry and move to the next exhibit. The two of them are peas in a pod.

After our visit in March, Peg and I got to talking about having Eric come out in the summer to spend a week with her. It sounded good in theory, but the idea of putting Eric on a plane by himself was a tough one. Mary and Hilary started flying by themselves when they were 6 and 8, but they always flew together. (When we lived in St. Louis, they would always fly home to Arizona in the summer to spend a couple weeks with their cousins). Eric was excited about coming out to Peggy's, but I wasn't sure he really got the fact that he would be going alone. I kept asking him if he would be okay flying by himself and he kept saying yes. So, I bit the bullet and bought the ticket. Even after buying the ticket, I was nervous about him flying alone. I figured that if he was too scared and didn't want to get on the plane that would be fine, I wouldn't force him. Well, today was the day and he did fine. He was a little nervous -- he kept coming up with all these ridiculous scenarios of his possible demise while on the plane.

Such as,

"What if the pilot dies while flying the airplane?"

"Well, there is a co-pilot."

"What if he dies too?"

"It's not likely to happen Eric, don't worry .... there will be a pilot flying your plane the entire time!"

When it was time to board, he really was okay. Off he went without looking back. I did feel much better when I saw another boy flying by himself as well - he was several years older than Eric. They boarded together, so I knew Eric would be fine. In fact, as Eric was rolling his luggage through the walkway to the plane, he was having trouble, and the other boy came back to help Eric and grabbed the handle and both of them rolled the luggage onto the plane together. It was too sweet. (see last picture).

Eric arrived safe and sound in St. Louis and he is very much enjoying having Peggy all to himself. Hopefully, he'll have some time to give me an update here and there throughout the week. I miss him already!

Ready to board

No looking back

His sweet helper

Have a GRAND week everyone.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Simply Be

A few weeks ago, I took the "back way" to work. I work in a small city about 40 miles south of Phoenix and occasionally, when I'm not in a hurry to get to the office or if I feel like I need some extra quiet time in the car just to think, I'll take the back way to work - which takes me through the Gila River Indian Reservation. The road through the Reservation has little traffic and is usually very desolate and peaceful. I don't always take this route because it's a two lane highway and you risk getting behind one of the big construction or quarry trucks traveling through the Reservation, and when you do - you are stuck going nowhere fast. While I like the peacefulness of the drive, I don't like to drive slow!

On this particular day, as I was traveling through the Reservation, I found myself behind one of those big, slow trucks. My view was completely blocked and I couldn't see a thing in front of me. I don't usually try and go around these trucks, as I've seen enough white crosses along the roadside to remind me of the dangers of going around large trucks on a single lane, curvy road. As my solitary and peaceful drive was abruptly interrupted by this large truck forcing me to slow my speed, my eyes wandered to my driver's side mirror - and the view caught my attention (which, of course, compelled me to grab my phone and take a picture). As I looked at the empty road behind me and the awesome mountain range in the distance, I was struck by how much I missed along my drive because I'm focused solely on my destination and the road in front of me and I fail to look at the view around me.

Much like my drive to work that morning, I realize that I spend too much of my life focused on what's next and how to get there. Whether it be getting through the day, the week, the weekend, the school year, the next MRI or the next trip to St. Louis. I'm always forward focused, never stopping to just BE and appreciate where I'm at and where I've been. Before I know it, I'll have reached my final destination and have missed so much along the way ... so much goodness, enjoyment, appreciation and beauty.

I'm really good at talking the talk ("enjoy the moment"), but not so good at walking the walk. The picture in my car mirror was a reminder that it's time. It's time to slow down. It's time to appreciate the past - hardships and all -- for what it's done to shape me into the person I am today. It's time to savor the present - hardships and all - for its gift of the people and opportunities in my life today. It's time to just BE.

So, I challenge myself and I challenge all of you, to slow down, look around, enjoy the view and simply BE.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Just a Day in the Life

Just a typical summer day at the Ranch ... one big happy family, hanging out together doing their own thing.

Jack watching his movie on the portable DVD player because Eric is monopolizing his TV

Mary recovering from getting her wisdom teeth cut out on Monday


Great News!

For those who didn't see my post on Facebook .... the area of concern that showed up on my mom's MRI is scar tissue from radiation and NOT new tumor. Truly remarkable! Thanks for all your prayers, good thoughts and positive vibes. Indeed, it's a Happy Wednesday!