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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Odds & Ends

Jacob had all his pre-stem cell transplant testing on Wednesday and as soon as his counts rise he will be good to go. Knowing that I'll be gone for a month or more (with just a few days home here and there when hubby takes my place) has had me scrambling to get the house in order and spend lots of quality time with all three kiddos (and hubby!). It's going to be an ordeal but at this point I'm ready to just get it started so that it will be over with.

One thing the kids have been loving this summer is the library. They check out stacks of books and we are often exchanging them for a whole new stack within a few days. They have already finished their library summer reading program requirements and eagerly run up to bed when I call in order to hear their bedtime stories. Our trips to the library merited an extra bonus yesterday when I decided to take the long way home and spied a garage sale sign pointing to a subdivision.

The children are just as excited about garage sales as I am. It's become a family hobby. While we are paring down our possessions we are all becoming good with getting rid of something old when bringing in something new. Often times getting a new stuffed animal means that they are willing to get rid of two or three of their old ones. Getting some fun books means that we can donate a stack of old books from our shelves. It's a win win situation.

As we pulled up to the garage sale I remembered that it was the same fun one we went to a few years back. We tumbled out of the van and immediately I spotted a table of purses. I love purses. Just last weekend when Jacob was at the hospital for a blood transfusion with daddy and Becca, I went on a "date" with Joe and we stopped at the mall and admired all the purses at Younkers; specifically the Fossil purses. The yellow dot sale meant an extra 60% off clearance and I fondly caressed one leather Fossil purse which was $165...even 60% off that was still way too much. I may love purses but I'm still cheap. I've never paid more then $10 for a purse.

Imagine my surprise when I saw not one, but two, leather Fossil purses. One for $2.50 and one for $4. Another cute striped purse beckoned me to pick it up as well, after all, it was only $1. Three adorable purses for $7.50? Can't beat that!

Joe ran to the bin full of Matchbox cars and picked up several for 10 cents each. Becca picked up a fun necklace for a dime and a few books for free. She bought Jacob a cute little turtle stuffed animal as well. I was able to look through the clothing and found some cute shirts for myself and picked up an awesome pair or jeans, which I so wished had fit me, but ended up fitting my mom perfectly (once they are hemmed, that it!).

I spotted an old ladder, which I just had to get. Have you seen the adorable projects on Pinterest that turn old ladders into shelves or magazine racks? I've been wanting to do that for years but never ran across a ladder...this one is perfect and was only $1!

I spied a vintage dresser in the corner of the garage, buried under boxes. For $20 I hesitated and then realized I had the perfect spot for it. It now stands where an ugly wooden shelf had held our school books.
Keeping the workbooks, readers, and school supplied inside of drawers instead of out in the open makes everything so much more tidy. It's also a much cuter storage solution. It's a heavy wood piece, instead of the cheap plywood pieces that furniture is now made out of. The white paint doesn't exactly fit with our darker wood furniture, so I think a cute paint job will be in the future but I'm already in love with it. The adorable drawer pulls are a favorite of mine.

Leaving the garage sale I spotted a fire pit, which was free. Unfortunately, we had just bought one. This has left me realizing that maybe we should never buy anything new - it seems that I am always finding exactly what we need at garage sales for a fraction of the price. Besides socks and underwear, I can't think of a single thing that we would have to buy new that I haven't come across at a garage sale.

Which leads me to wonder, what is your take on buying second hand? I have run across people who won't buy anything used as they feel it is dirty or for poor people. Others will buy select items but draw the line at clothing or stepping into a Goodwill. My take now is I won't buy anything new unless I have to.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Happy Birthday to Jacob today!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Naturally, Growing

We are still flying high after Jacob's good CT results earlier this week. We are also happy to all be back together and are savoring this time as we know it will be short for we have a long 30+ day hospital stay ahead of us. I have some deep thoughts on that and life in general but will save that for another time.

Today my thoughts are on gardening. We finally received some rain which helped the garden plants shoot up (as well as the weeds) so I have been working on tending my vegetables and flowers since arriving home. I realize that after 5 days of being stuck indoors I crave the outside. Things are so much more noticeable when you are deprived of them. The smell of rain and wet pavement, the birds singing, the wind gusting through the leaves on the tree, butterflys fluttering about. I think about people who are just released from prison and how they must marvel once again at everything around them - I'm sure the freedom of the outdoors is more alluring to them then the confinement of indoors. It's a wonderment that I am happy to experience once again...seeing the beauty and blessings in every. little. thing.
Maybe that is why my gardening philosophy has changed this year as well. I've changed my game plan and am curious to see how my experiment will turn out.

With the extremely mild temperatures that we had this past winter I was able to plant quite early, early March as a matter of fact. We've already harvested all of our radishes and turnips. We've been munching on lettuce and spinach for quite some time now. The rhubarb has all but fizzled out.

I had ordered seeds and hoped to start all my plants by seed instead of buying nursery plants. The seeds arrived much too late to start indoors so I decided to go ahead and start my seeds in the ground, even tomato seeds.
I later had some empty space after harvesting the turnips so bought a couple nursery plants. Later I found some self-started tomato plants growing, apparently by a dropped tomato last year. Now that I have nursery plants, seeds started in the ground, and self-sown seeds I am curious to see which do the best this summer. In the first picture you can see the nursery tomatoes (with bush beans behind them), which are big and healthy. Yet, all my nursery plants in prior years tend to wither and die in July so I will be keeping watch on those.

In the second picture you can see tomato wire cages (a couple of which my Grandma used for her tomatoes that my Grandpa had made over 25 years ago! I love having a part of them in my garden!) around teeny tiny tomato plants. Those are the seeds which I planted. I think they will catch up fairly quickly and give us a later harvest of tomatoes. Throughout the garden are a few self-seeded tomato plants which are bigger than the ones I planted from seed and smaller then the nursery plants.

There are also cucumber plants, pepper plants, lettuce, and more. I'll keep you updated on the progress of the plants. Care to take a guess on which plants you think will do the best this year?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I'm exhausted so this will be short:

The CT scan shows that the lungs are clear of the nodules that were seen 4 weeks ago!

We will go ahead with the stem cell transplant in a couple weeks when Jacob's counts recover.

Best news ever!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Let Go

Day 4 of chemotherapy is finished and Jacob is doing well, albeit a bit of nausea has creeped in today. I'm beginning to get anxious about tomorrow, knowing that we will find out the results of the scan. I'm trusting God to carry us through whatever comes but I can't help but worry as the time draws nearer.

Worry is a funny thing. It does nothing but rob us of the present. I'm trying my darnedest to let go and let God and I've amazed even myself with how well I've dealt with the past four weeks after receiving the news of the nodules in Jacob's lungs, not knowing for four weeks what we are dealing with. I really didn't know how I would react but I was able to put it into God's hands. Even now, amidst my anxiety, I still continue to feel that sense of peace deep within myself. I just have to dig deep within when the anxiety creeps in and know that the Lord is our shepherd. He is so much bigger than this.

Does that trust make the worry completely disappear? No. It just makes it a whole lot better and completely manageable. I trust.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I think we can all remember zoning out in front of Saturday morning cartoons as a child. It takes on a whole new meaning when you're stuck in the hospital on a Saturday morning - but as a typical six year old (soon to be 7 year old!) Jacob still manages to zone out while watching television here...which is a good thing!
This is day two of a five day stay for chemotherapy. On Tuesday he will have a CT scan to check on the nodules in the lungs (praying, praying, praying that they have disappeared!) and then we should be able to go home! So far so good - no nausea or pain. He had a two bowls of cereal this morning and is already asking for more - that's my boy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happiness in a Jar

We've spent almost a month at home - this is the longest stretch home so far since Jacob restarted treatments back in March. His platelets were not high enough to start chemotherapy last week so we will go in this Friday for a five day stay. He's feeling good and has his energy back.

I was happy for another week at home. A week to organize the house. A week to play in the sun. A week to watch Becca and Joe at their swimming lessons. A week to read books, meet a friend at the park for a play date, hang laundry on the line (it's been over a month since I've had to use our dryer - no rain here is at least good for one thing!), and enjoy walks/bike rides with the family.

All these activities makes us thirsty. I'm not a huge water fan and have to try tricks to get myself to drink it. With warm weather comes the perfect setting to make sun tea - something that we all like to drink. It's a perfect way to cut back on soda (something that we are trying to do - we weren't big soda drinkers in the first place - maybe two sodas a week but even that is two too many!) and stay hydrated in the summer.

I just fill the jar with water and place about four Lipton tea bags inside (I usually add a couple green tea bags or herbal tea bags such as red raspberry leaf as well) and set it outside on the porch table (which is also our outdoor craft table - hence the paint stains!).

Let it seep a few hours to all day, depending on the strength which you prefer. Bring the jar inside, dispose of tea bags (ours go into the compost bin!) and chill in the refrigerator. We don't drink ours sweetened but you could add a bit of sugar, honey, or agave nectar to sweeten it if you desire.

It's a very inexpensive, healthy drink for the summer. We go through a jar of tea a day.

Sun tea makes me happy.
Especially when I go to pick it up and notice a reflection of my daisy in it. Who says you can't bottle happiness?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You Move Too Fast

Dear Summer,
I looked forward to you, thinking that I would have extra time to just sit and be. I was excited for the start of Vacation Bible School, swimming lessons, library programs, and most of all, idleness. The latter seems to be quite elusive these days.
You are going much too quickly. Your days are full to the brim and I fall into bed exhausted at night. You are making me tired.
You are also keeping me in awe. I'm loving the joy that you bring to my family and I. I love your hotness, your rain showers, the cool breezes that you blow my way. I love the way you tend to my flowers and vegetable garden. I love the way you dry my laundry on the clothesline. I love your warm caresses as I sit on the porch and watch the children play.
I love you. Please slow down a little so that we can enjoy every minute of you!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Sometimes when I see the kids running around the yard together, hear laughter bubbling from a room, or find the aftermath of a day spent in the playroom I almost forget for a moment that one of those children is sick.

It's always at the back of your mind. Is he too pale and in need of a transfusion? Is he crying because his sister hurt his feelings or because he is feeling sick? Is it time for his medications? There is always a reminder.

Such as the line of medications which he takes daily. Some of these are once daily, some twice, some need to be administered three times a day. One needs to be given twice daily on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The injection needs to be given when his ANC reaches below 500 and given until it reaches 10,000. Some need to be given with food, others on an empty stomach, some not within a few hours of each other. Some days I feel as though my whole day revolves around medicine.

He has a whole host of other medications that he takes on an as needed basis. Luckily, we don't need to give those as often.

Then there is his dual hickman line. It needs to be hep locked daily (the two blue syringes in the picture). Twice weekly we need his blood counts so I need the whole pile of supplies shown below in order to draw his blood.

There is also a dressing change that needs to be done weekly to keep the area where the hickman line runs into his chest clean and sterile. That involves peeling off the old dressing, donning sterile gloves, swabbing the area with alcohol, repositioning the line in a loop, and putting a sterile dressing back on. We need to cover it when he takes a shower or bath to keep it dry.

There is a host of other issues that need to be dealt with as well. The odd thing is that while it dictates a lot of our day, it's become normal for us. It's just another thing that needs to be done during the day. Jacob takes his medicine like a champ, holds out his arm for the injection, and sits still for his line to be flushed or his dressing to be changed. I'm able to keep all the medicines straight without a chart and know what time he needs what and when he last had this or that. And because it is now normal to us, every once in awhile I'm almost able to forget that it isn't normal .

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Blast From the Past

I've become conflicted recently on the direction I've wanted to take my blog. Should it be only updates on Jacob? Everything else seems so trivial compared to that. Yet, a whole blog only of updates could get depressing or mundane. Life happens even during cancer, after all, so after much deliberation with myself I have decided to go on as usual. I'll be my random self and talk about whatever is on my mind at the time...whether it be my sweet Jacob or something completely different.

Jacob is feeling good, this time around the nasty cocktail is treating him more kindly. We did have to spend all day at the hospital yesterday getting TPA placed in his hickman line to break up a clot and to get platelet and blood transfusions (his platelets were down to 3 and his Hemoglobin to 6.9!). 3 hours in the van and 6 1/2 hours at the hospital with all three children was an adventure, to say the least! If Jacob's counts continue to rise this week we will be back at the hospital on Friday for another 5 day chemotherapy course and a repeat of the CT scan to see if the nodules have disappeared (please God, let them be gone).

Life at home continues on. Sunshine has made for several days of outdoor fun. Bike rides, working in the garden, sitting on the porch, hanging up laundry, and realizing a renewed love of nature has been our week long activity. We've also done a little garage sailing.

I've started a small collection of vintage Pyrex dishes and had to pick this little dish up for a quarter.

I'm not sure if I'm getting old (well, of course I am, I'm turning 30 this summer!) but I'm loving finding items from my childhood. This green Tupperwear pickle holder got me all excited as I remember eating countless pickles out of one when I was around 4. The three colorful Tupperwear cups are exactly like the ones I drank out of, though I was disappointed they didn't come with the sippy cup lids I remember oh so well. The matching little bowls with lids remind me of the Cheerios that my mom packed in similar ones for my little brother and I to eat in church on Sunday mornings.
The tote was a fun find for $1 and will add some color this summer and even the vintage tablecloth was from a sale.

One of my favorite finds was this hutch which came from a church sale.

As I find items that I love I am hauling items that I don't need/want out of the house. Spring cleaning came a bit late for me this year but I've been hauling bags and boxes of items to the local charity shop. Even the kids are getting on board and going through their toys and books in order to simplify. We are starting to notice a tiny dent in the "stuff" around here and it's freeing!


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