Monday, May 30, 2011


I'm done!!!! It's absolutely amazing that I am completely done with high school. Never again do I have to listen to the bell telling me to go to class or ride a big yellow school bus. Now I'm REALLY excited for BYU!! Less than three months left to wait! YAY!!

So last Friday (the 20th) was my actual last day of school. I passed my Constitution test (actually, aced it) which meant I had no finals to take. So I came home from school on Friday ready to relax, watch a movie, maybe take a nap.

Didn't happen. Rachel had her birthday party that night, so I came home and got to help Mom make the broccoli and pasta salads as well as black bean salsa. Then we set up balloons and wrapped presents, etc. Her friends came at 6 and stayed until 10. One of her friends lost her phone in our couch so we got to tear apart our couch at 10:30 at night. All entertaining, but after nine teenage girls and our family friends had been there for four hours, I had a bit of a headache and was ready to crash.

The next day I got to do one of my absolute favorite things - watch a baseball game. And not just any baseball game, but Nathan's fifth grade team baseball game. Six innings. In case you didn't know, I really don't love sports, and I especially dislike baseball. It's probably my least favorite sport of all time. But because it was his birthday, I went and took pictures of Nathan. The day was rainy so I was hoping the game would be cancelled, but by game time it was bright and sunny - perfect for my now-exposed scalp to get fried. Nathan looked cute in his baseball uniform though, and I tried to be a good sport.

So those were my first two days off of high school. The rest of the week was better (plus I was off of prednisone which meant I wasn't as irritable or hungry).

We had Seminary Graduation on Sunday the 22nd (Nathan went to a friend's house because it was his birthday and he didn't really want to sit through that). I can't believe I never have to do early-morning seminary again!! I'll miss it a lot, but I won't miss having to wake up at 5 every morning. Of course, Dad pointed out I might be called as a seminary teacher, but until that happens, I'm celebrating the extra few hours of sleep I'm getting.

I've been relaxing, doing projects, watching movies, finishing up scholarship applications, looking at BYU classes, taking naps, writing thank you notes, addressing graduation announcements, and choosing graduation shoes the past week. I got to go to the library for the first time in months, and I spent a few hours reading at the church bookstore while Mom went to the temple. It's been busy but fun! This week I get to start going through my room and Megan has eighth grade graduation on Wednesday. Her last band concert was last week. We’ve been painting the basement so we’re ready for the new carpet next Monday – Mom will post pictures of that project later. I'm so excited for summer!!!

We made it through last week going to the hospital after 8 days - we made it more than a week without going there! - and I have no appointments this week which will make two weeks of staying home! I haven't had that since January! Mom was especially excited because Dad took me to my last chemo so she's had two weeks off of hospital driving.

Graduation itself wasn't too exciting - we had a breakfast and rehearsal on Friday morning. The speeches were as cheesy as could be expected (our valedictorian decided to sing some popular songs during hers), I didn't know either of the kids I sat next to and one of them was rather large so he took up half of my seat as well as his which meant I spent the two-hour ceremony sitting at an awkward angle. Rachel was in the grad band in the back of the gymnasium and had a few trumpet solos.

We took pictures after the ceremony and then went to Big Bowl for dinner. yum! I love Chinese food and it was delicious! I opened a couple of presents from the family and we bought some donuts for dessert at a local grocery store. Then I went over to my friend's house for a graduation party where it was me and a few other good friends and we watched Pink Panther quoting most of the movie from memory.

Right before we left for graduation, I opened up another scholarship in the mail! I'm so thankful for all of these scholarships that I've received and it just makes me all the more excited for BYU! I still can't believe that I'm a high school graduate! woo hoo! Enjoy the pictures and thanks for helping me get here! Keep on smiling!

Sorry for all of the exclamation points and smiley faces - I'm just really excited! :)

Here are pix from the game and the excitement of tearing apart the couch...

This is my good friend, Lauren, who also had some health problems in high school.
This would be my graduation dress :)

Rachel and her friends in grad band...
The wall that all the seniors signed...
Walking to my seat (I'm dead center)....
The balloon arch in the back - Rachel is in the section right behind the arch.

The arch we walked through when we got our diplomas.

Wow, this post is really long. Hope you enjoyed the pictures! And sorry for the weird formatting.

Friday, May 27, 2011


We have 2 May birthdays at our house. Nathan turned 11 on the 22nd and Rachel turned 16 on the 23rd.
Rachel was so excited to get here that she was my only child I wasn't induced with. She spends most of her life smiling. Here she was at 3 years old. Look at all those curls!

Nathan was born the day before Rachel's 5th birthday. We couldn't believe he was a boy - in fact, I kept checking to make sure the first few days after his birth. He has so much energy and such a great smile!

The crazy weekend began with a party for Rachel and her band friends. They played water balloon volleyball and badmitton and had texas sheet cake with homemade ice cream.

Nathan's turn was next. All of us went to watch his baseball game. This is his first year playing, he is having a blast, and I am enjoying it more and more each game.

He got a fancy new fast bike and helmet, of course.

He didn't want to go out for dinner, but asked to make it all himself. Shredded barbecue chicken sandwiches with homemade sauce, corn on the cob, and fruit pizza for dessert.

I think they feel well celebrated!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guess what?????

I GOT MY LICENSE YESTERDAY!!!! And today I went to pick up Nathan from school and visit my friend who fractured her foot. And I didn't die or crash the car!!! Mom and Dad were very proud :)
that was Rachel by the way- in case you didn't figure that out

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Jeff (my brother) and Carly and kids came to visit for the weekend. They are so fun and we had a great time! Little Samantha is almost 2 years old, takes a lot of time and energy and care, but is so amazing. I was grateful to have an angel in my home. She provides so much perspective!!

Conner is almost 7 and is such a good reader when he isn't playing the Wii or hanging out with Nathan.

Lily is 5 and twirls around everywhere. She says the cutest things and made us all laugh.

Carly is training for a marathon. She did a 14 mile run on Friday as part of her training. I was so worried she would get lost and wouldn't be able to find water! Jeff is an orthodontist, so the purpose of the trip was coming here for a National Meeting. We laughed about him sitting in lectures and finding all his buddies who all want to learn the latest ortho news. But, seriously, it is wonderful that he is so passionate about what he does.

It was so good to be with family!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fantastic News

It's Lauren!

This week has been absolutely crazy. Tuesday was chemo day and we had to be there by 8 am which means we had to leave by six due to the two hours of traffic we then had to sit in. Wednesday I had a PET/CT scan. Thursday was a routine heart biopsy. I was nauseous Tuesday night and most of this morning, though the reason is unclear. I managed to hold off the bodily fluids for mom's birthday, but couldn't make it on Mother's Day. I think it was a little too much sun from the Botanic Garden. I'm still having headaches periodically and trouble sleeping at night. I still hate the shots and am still giving them to myself - I have a lovely bruise on my arm that is now two weeks old and still purple and one on my stomach. I'm scrambling to finish up government with only four days of actual school left (love being a senior!).

Despite the craziness, great things came out of it all. The doctor called last night with great news:

THE SCAN IS CLEAR!!! meaning...

YAY!! I'm so excited! Of course I still have at least six more weeks of chemo (the doctor is pushing for twelve, but says that is "negotiable") but I can handle that knowing there's an end in sight!! Thank you so much for all the faith and prayers that has made such a miracle possible!

The heart biopsy results were also perfect! My body is holding up through the chemo, even though I'm nauseous and tired and having headaches and have to go through a week of weird diets. I'm so grateful for such a strong heart! It's absolutely incredible what the human body is capable of doing and just how strong they are.

Can I just say that I have the most incredible mom ever? Three days in a row of waking up before the crack of dawn to drive me to chemo, to a scan, and to a biopsy that I could technically go to by myself (except the biopsy; they won't let me drive after just receiving sedation). But she comes along and sits through me playing my favorite songs over and over again on the long drives and sits in the uncomfortable chair to take a nap while I'm on the slightly-more comfortable bed not sleeping which is kind of the purpose of a bed. And she still comes home and manages to be with her other kids and support them in all they do. Last night she was at Nathan's baseball game from eight until ten thirty at night after having woken up at five that morning for the biopsy and then came home to deep clean the house taking only one small nap that I accidentally woke her up from. She is such an amazing mom and I'm so glad I have her!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Crazy Week

I went to a mother-daughter activity with the girls. We were to dress like each other. You will notice my T-Shirt and hairstyle is exactly like Megan's. My sweatshirt pulled down over my hands with striped socks and slip on shoes is signature Rachel. Megan wore tennis shoes in my honor and Rachel donned sunglasses and my red bag. We had such a great time! There are no 2 young women I would rather look like!

On Mother's Day after church, we went to the Botanic Garden to walk around. It was a glorious day weather-wise. It didn't occur to me that thousands of other people might have the same idea.

The garden was hosting a mother's day brunch, so there was lovely music playing all throughout the garden. Perfect to dance to - we are laughing because Megan is sooooo embarrassed by our behavior!

The rest of the week has already been a day of chemo, the PET scan to take a look at the cancer and a heart biopsy tomorrow. (Results should be back by late Friday.) My brother Jeff and his family come tomorrow night, we have girls camp hikes, baseball, Father/Sons campout, school activities and homework, etc. etc.

Oh, the craziness of May!!!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sigh of Relief

Whew - Lauren took the AP Spanish test yesterday. There was great rejoicing. Glad that is out of the way! She thinks she did fairly well, especially considering the amount of time she had to study for it. The results don't come back until July. It was exciting to watch her push towards this goal - she didn't need to take the test in order to pass the class, she just really wanted to do it and is hoping for some college credit.

Wow - Not long ago, during Lauren's first few hours back at school, her counselor tracked her down to provide a scholarship application. It is for seniors in high school battling cancer. She only had a few days until the deadline, but she completed it. Yesterday, Lauren's inbox had a letter stating she was granted the scholarship. Yeah!!

They survived - A few weeks ago, Nathan went to an outdoor school field trip for 3 days. I was so nervous for him, unsure of the weather, food, chaperones, etc. But he enjoyed it and learned a lot! Then, last week Megan traveled with her band to Cleveland, Ohio. They played the National Anthem at an Indians baseball game, performed in the Rock and Roll hall of fame and had a clinic at a nearby college. She has a great group of band friends and had a blast!

Counting down - I am sure that all of you have May as a crazy month. But I have 2 children counting down to their birthdays and the other 2 counting down to graduation days.

Week 5 - Chemo week 5 is over! We switched to Wed this week so Lauren could take her test yesterday. The human body is so amazing. How it is that these poisons go into her system and do what they are designed to do, then watch her body build itself back up again is remarkable!

True relief - For mother's day, Lauren thought of a creative gift. She is now giving the blood thinning shots to herself. She would have to do it eventually, so why not this week? I am grateful to no longer have to inflict pain.