Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holladays!

Spence, John and Jake admiring Jake's new Fender guitar (donated by a secret santa!)

Well, this was the most surprising Christmas we have ever had...thanks to some Secret Santa's!  I haven't been this excited for Christmas for a long time!  I kept waking up every hour to see if it was time to get up!  Finally, I got up about 6:45 and told the boys it was ok to come up now.  Zack had gotten in the shower to kill some we had to wait till he got out (although Dave wanted to start without him!).

I like Zack's smile in this one.  Notice John's hair cut? NICE!

This was Gennie's first Christmas with kids (since her's grew up)!  I think she was excited for Christmas too.  I notice she was up and ready to go at 5:30 a.m. (possibly even earlier)!  I think she liked it!

This is Michael on the phone with his new BFF, Jessica.  For some reason, he couldn't stop smiling!
Oops!  My bad!  I opened my tool box and accidentally set it on the butter!  I didn't notice it until I closed the case....Doh!

I got a call this morning telling me I was being released from teaching Primary.  I looked down at the floor and my feet were doing a "happy dance"!  I was trying not to sound too excited....but I couldn't help myself!  I love my Primary kids (8 y.o.), but going on to my 5th class...I just wanted to be with the ladies again.  I actually miss going to Sunday School and Relief Society!  Studying for a Primary class is not the same as studying for an adult class.  My church bag will be much crayons, scissors, glue, tape or snacks to carry around. I suspect I won't have to remind the adults to sit on their bottoms on the chair and to be reverent...maybe.   ;)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Parties

I invited some of my friends over for a Girlfriend Breakfast (actually I had to have two because they all couldn't come on the same date).  Seriously, I could have invited just about every woman in our ward, but too much stress to try and do that on my own.  This is my friend, Emily.  She had her dad call to tell her mom that she wanted to come have breakfast with us.  It took me 4 tries to get a picture of her with a smile and her eyes open. was fun having many sweet friends over and to load up on Christmas hugs!

 My sis-in-law, Cindy Sweet, had the guys hold these pictures of santa up while everyone sang a song.  They cards are suppose to spell SANTA.  I missed this, but Sam had Jake take his letter to the end and then it spelled SATAN.  My family is such a crack up!

Santa made an appearance

I don't know, exactly, why James is in my family picture...maybe he's Santa's Helper!

Aunt Belva and Uncle Bob are adopted Sweets.

These two little boys cracked me up.  They were at the church for a scout meeting, saw the party and decided to help themselves to our dinner.  Our parties are so cool we get party crashers! LOL

No pics, but we went out to Saratoga Springs for a yummy steak dinner for the Holladay Christmas party!  The food was sooo good, I ate too much!  It was great to see most of the Holladay clan.

My primary class came over for a party.  I had boy gift bags and girl gift bags.  One of the girls wanted a boy gift bag because she loved cars!  I told her I didn't mind, but the boy who got her bag might.

Now I just want to curl up in my soft chair, by my fake Christmas tree and my fake fireplace and relax.

If you want to read what my family has been up to this past year, you can read my no family update letter.  Let's just say we are doing good right now.  This year has brought lots of surprises...some good, some not so much.

I'm not sure what kind of year I should wish for next year.  No challenges means no growth.  I suppose I will wish to be prepared for whatever this next year holds in store, treasure all the good times, appreciate the peace in my heart and the love of my family and friends.

My Christmas wish for you, is that whatever life brings you this year, may you never feel alone or unloved.  Don't be afraid to close the doors on the bad stuff.  If something makes you sad, it's ok to change the subject.  Always look up when you only feel like looking down.  Trust that God knows what's best.  Do the best you can and let Him fill in the blanks.  No one is more awesome at doing that than He is.  Look for the good and you will find it.  Smile, then get someone else to...everyday!  I wish each of you a peaceful, happy heart.

God Bless!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm not complaining...

I'm not complaining, but I'm not too excited to take Jake up to the hospital tomorrow.  His counts have bottomed out again!  He is getting transfusions and platelets in the morning.  I don't mind going up to the hospital, but Jake hates it...I guess because it takes so long...or maybe it's the pokes or the throwing up he doesn't like.  It couldn't be the fabulously comfortable chairs he gets to sit in for hours at a time (oh wait!  That sounds like complaining!).

The people at the clinic are great and try their best to make Jake comfortable...but after 23 weeks of treatments, I can't blame him.  Bummer we couldn't have been there when the Jazz make their annual visit!  I used to work up there when Jerry Sloan was the asst. coach and Frank Layden was the head coach.  We had our picture taken with Frank the day before he announced his retirement.  The players are just super with the kids!  Mark Eaton is taller than he looks and Carl Malone is actually a very nice guy!  John Stockton was very quiet, but super nice, as was Jeff Hornacek and Blue Edwards...but I digress...

Well, whatever...(whatever was voted the most annoying word in, we'll make the best of it!  To change the subject, I received a Willow Tree Angel of Light last night from the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation.  They gave Dave a tool set and we got a Christmas Turkey!  Way cool!  The two younger boys got to pick out a present to keep or give to someone else.  The night before, they had a party where they let us pick a few nice gifts for Mike and Spencer and they were super nice and got some awesome stuff to surprise Jake and John with Christmas morning.  Dave and I were so surprised and grateful for the generations of strangers!  Seriously, I gasped out loud when I saw what the got for Jake! (then the grateful tears..)  I can't wait to see Jake's face when he opens it!  I'll try to record it and post it so you can all see next week.

I have to admit, I love that all my primary kids have been bringing me little treats and presents and notes.  I teach the 8 year olds.  Here are the last two:  Dear Sister Holiday,  I love you.  I'm going to miss you.  Thanks for all you do to us.  Sencery, Makayla

To Sis. Holladay, Your Awesome! From Mike

I'll be their teacher for 2 more weeks!  I love to watch these kids grow up!  I asked them a couple months ago who threw fits still.  Most of them raised their hands.  I then informed them that they are too grown up to throw fits.  Some of them were surprised, but perhaps their parents will be happy to know that for the most part, they were very respectful all year and tried the hardest to be reverent when they were suppose to.  If at times they were restless and forgot, they were quick to obey when I gently reminded them of the behavior I expected from them.  Usually it only took a tussle of their hair or a little hug or sometimes the "reverent R".  They all know that I love them and they had no problem being awesome!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chemo: Week 23

I voted to sit this one out.  John (Jake's twin) was elected to do the "Brother Bonding".  His counts are down again so it looks like another transfusion Thursday or Friday.

Zack surprised me and asked if I would go work with him.  He said he wanted some "mommy bonding time"!  I didn't have anything pressing on my schedule so mommy bonding it was!

I had an OMH moment tonight...Our family was invited to be a part of the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation.  They have 2 nights of activities.  The first night (tonight), there was a nice dinner for the adults and you were given some tickets and a number.  When they called your number, you enter a room filled with gifts.  An elf (Bob) helped us select some gifts for the two younger boys, plus a few extra things.  Since Jake is going through his treatment right now, they made an exception and got special gifts for him and John!  Dave and I were so touched by their generosity...let's just say, we were both choked up about it.  I just couldn't believe that strangers would go to so much trouble for our boys...for Jake!  Many in the room and many of the volunteers either had cancer survivors or had lost children to cancer.  I had the hardest time socializing with the other parents because my heart couldn't handle all of their heartbreaking stories! 
Is that a bad thing? 
Maybe it will get easier when I can label him a cancer survivor.  Perhaps it's hard because it opens the "what if" door...that's just not therapeutic for me...not yet.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chemo: Week 22

We tried something different this week.  We were suppose to do the overnight chemo this week, but in the past 22 weeks, Jake has grown to loath everything about the hospital.  We opted to try the long chemo in clinic.  We actually started the night before with some hydration.  This is Jake's nurse, Karen, accessing his port.  The pharmacy sent us some saline and it ran all night, until 5:30.  They trained me on how to disconnect the IV, so I did that and we went to the hospital.  We had to wait for about 1/2 hour for the nurses to get things started, so there is no sense going in that early.  We had to wait for the pharmacy to mix up the chemo, but all in all we were able to leave at about 6:15 p.m.  He had to be on IV fluids until 11:00 pm.  The nurse trained me how to de-access his port.  I was able to get the nurse to start the IV fluids before we left the hospital, so I wouldn't have to push saline and heparin (which makes him throw up every time.).  My aim was to keep as much food in him as possible.  I didn't even have to push the saline at 11 for him to get nauseous.  I was pretty nervous to have to play nurse...but we got through it fine (big sigh).  Jake decided he liked it much better.  It makes for a long day in clinic, but at least he gets to go home with me.

My bro-in-law, Bob invented some gel that you can use as disinfectant.  It sterilizes the area for up to 4 hours.  He has some that has moisturizer in it so we can use it for hand disinfectant.  It doesn't have that alcohol smell that makes Jake nauseous either, so I am excited to try it.

Only 18 weeks left! :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


The Christmas Broadcast from the first presidency and the Mormon Tab. was quite nice!  I like cozying up to my fake fire in my fake fireplace with my fake Christmas Tree and listen to a nice Christmas message.

I have all my Christmas parties scheduled and pray that I don't lose my phone because that is where I keep my calendar (I have 9 things scheduled for tomorrow!). 

I have a goal this month to not let myself get caught up in the pity party!  If you catch me complaining about anything this month, please remind me that I'm not welcome at that party anymore!

A few of my friends got together and helped me make a *** for Jake, for Christmas (you never knew when Jake is going to check out my blog...Hi Jake! ).  I was very touched that so many showed many that there wasn't room enough for everyone to help at the same time.  The other gift for me was being able to see and visit with a few sweet friends.  Many hands make quick work so we had it done in no time.  One sweet sister made sure everything was cleaned up and put away before she left and she brought a sweet something to share.  It's a nice Christmas memory that I will not soon forget...well, as old as I'm getting, my mind might forget, but my heart will always remember!

One of the kids in my Primary class asked me..."If Jesus is Mormon, why does he have long hair?"  My answer:  "If Jesus put on a suit, got a short haircut and shaved his face, would you recognize him?"  I'm just saying...

I am grateful to have all my family here around me.  I am grateful that God blessed me with an abundance of awesome friends and neighbors!

Big Hug!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekend Update!

I was successful at not getting any new pics this weekend, so here is one from this summer.

Thanksgiving was nice.  We had it at my mom's church.  I noticed three people who were mom, my cousin Sandra and Jeremy (bro.-in-law).  When I was young (not too long ago), we used to have a talent show at the end of Thanksgiving.  The parents would be in the kitchen putting the final touches on the food and we (the angelic children) would go in the basement, to the primary room and practice singing some songs.  Some of the cousin's would play the piano and some of us would sing.  It was some great memories!  We did a talent program after this year's dinner.  It was fun to see how brave the little ones could be to stand up in front of a crowd and sing their little hearts out.  Fabulous!  Jake's ANC counts were also fabulous, so he got to come with us.  He didn't hang around the bulk of people all of the time (just to play it safe), but all of my boys were there, and that made it a Thankful Day for me!  Good food, good company!

Friday, Jake had some blood drawn and the usual labs done.  Unfortunately, his ANC dropped back down to zero and they wanted to give him a transfusion.  I asked if he could wait until Tuesday, when we come in for chemo.  They said as long as he wasn't too sick or tired it was ok.  I grounded him to the house until far, so good.

We were able to get some of our shopping done this weekend.  We're not the kind to enjoy standing in line, in winter weather for long periods of time to save a few bucks.  Been there, done that.  We did get up and play some fun cause we won, but at the cost of taking a few hits.  We also went out to dinner with some old college friends.  We decided we should get together more often because it took too long to catch up on everything!  We see each other at least once a year, but it's just amazing how much our lives have changed in these past 25 years.  All of our kids are teenagers or older.  Let me just say, I'm grateful for the challenges I face and not anyone elses!

Saturday was the BYU/Utah game.  I love watching the game with avid BYU fans...since I'm not one.  They just loved picking on me the first 3/4 of the me a hard time about the score!  The game ended BYU 16, Utah 17!!!  SWEET!  I wore a nice red skirt to church to silently rub it in a little...not that I'm gloating or anything! ;)  

Sunday brought a lovely snow storm!  We had to move all the cars into the driveway, so it was a pain to get in and out to church, but I love the snow...just not the wind.  I got the tree up and the lights on yesterday...but that's as far as I got with that.  I'm ready to listen to Christmas music now.  I think the radio stations ruin Christmas music for me when the play it all of November and December.  I can only take so much of Rudolph and Santa...same 8 songs by different artists...over and over again.  I am loving singing the songs in choir.  I don't know how the choirs are where you are, but ours is really fun!

Well, thanks for stopping by my blog!  If you could do me one favor...the day you read this, step out of your comfort zone and do a nice thing for someone you would not usually do for.  It's the best prescription for the Holladay, I mean the holiday spirit.

When I think of you, I smile...with a grateful heart.  Even if I've never met you, I think you're awesome for showing up in my life...just by reading a little about mine.

May God bless you and yours this sweet Christmas season!

Big Christmas hug!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chemo: Week 19

 This is the picture in Jake's hospital room.
This is Jake telling me to quit taking pictures of him.

Well, it has been a long week...for me.  We were suppose to go in for chemo on Tuesday, but they asked us if we wanted to wait until Wednesday.  We had an appointment with the Radiology doc, which was not very productive.

Jake hates the overnight stays at the hospital so we inquired as to the possibility of him not having a hospital stay, but just getting chemo in the clinic.  We would have to stay all day, but that's a lot less time than staying over night.  They are going to try it on our next scheduled overnight stay.  We'll see how it goes!

The best news was that Jake gained a couple pounds!  He is really trying to eat more so he can heal faster!  He still has some color in his face from his last transfusion...oh maybe I didn't mention that.  Jake's counts were critically low a couple weeks ago.  His skin was so pale!  The nurse said he needed to come in for a transfusion on Friday, so since Dave was home, I let him have a turn doing the Jake-hospital bonding time.  They gave him 3 liters of blood instead of 2 and topped it off with a bolus of platelets.  Unfortunately, Jake spiked a fever while he was at the hospital so they made him stay overnight on a regimen of antibiotics.  Jake called me and begged me to get the doctors to release him to home.  He said he hated the food, so I made him a sandwich and some jello (his request) and made the 45 min. drive up the the hospital to comfort my poor Jakey.  I had to drive home in a big snow storm and only 2 hours sleep the night before, but Jake's worth it. 

 Here is Jake who wasn't happy because just he threw up the yummy sandwich I had brought him from home.

Chemo continues to damage Jake's body.  He continues to have more numbness in his hands and feet and is losing a lot of strength. He's trying to stay upbeat, but the treatments are getting tiring for all of us. (sigh!)  The doctors and nurses keep encouraging us to stay strong and the prayers are really helping, so thank you, all!  

Next week will mark the half way mark of chemo treatments.  April 12, 2011, is the last schedule chemo treatment.  That will be my new favorite day! (happy thoughts!)

Help!  I'm falling apart!  Today I was chewing on a tootsie roll and one of my crowns came out!  I'm going to put it under my pillow tonight and see if the tooth fairy will give me a refund!

My dryer broke so I had to replace it.  Did you know that not many stores stock gas dryers?  I finally found one at RC Willey!  Unfortunately, when we tried to hook it up, the fittings were different! (Why in the world do they not make these things universal?)  Well, as soon as we got it hooked up and turned the gas on, it smelled like leaking gas.  I called the gas company to come see why it was leaking.  I didn't want my house to blow up because I was trying to dry my clothes.  I got my hair permed that day so the combination of the two smells was giving me a headache!  I even had the gas guy put his meter near my hair to see if it was toxic!  He told me that the connections were fine and the gas leak was in the dryer.  I called RC Willey and they brought out a new dryer and switched them out.  The delivery guy put some goop in the adapter connection and now I don't smell the gas anymore.  Unfortunately, I now have a cold and I can't smell anything anymore.  (I think I caught it from my Uncle Bob after I gave him a kiss on the cheek at his 93rd b-day party and my Aunt told me later he had a bad cold...thanks for sharing!).

Today, I played Leon (age 72) and Dave racquetball (Dave was playing right handed this time) and I beat them!  OK, technically I was ahead and we ended the game early because someone else wanted to play with us, but still...I was ahead! hehe.  Well, Dave and I had fun playing today.  

I knew this was the last day to get the leaves cleaned up before it grew cold and nasty, so after I got home and Dave fixed me some nice breakfast, I changed and raked the leaves into piles.  The wind started to kick up so I asked Jake & John to come out and pick up the leaves for me, before they blew all over again.  To my surprise, they came out and got to work!  They weren't getting them up faster than the wind was blowing them so we had to call for back up!  We got Dave to come join in the "family bonding time"!  When Zack got home, he took my old dryer and the 6 bags of leaves to the dump and when Spence and Mike got home, they got to do pooper scooper.(Oh the fun times we have together!!!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Letter to a friend...

Thanks Cathy!  It means a lot to me to not be forgotten.
Dave and I were talking today and I mentioned how blessed I felt that I was receiving some amazing strength from heaven.  I truly believe that people are praying for us from here and in heaven, and this gives us strength and extra blessings!

I had to give a funeral talk a few years ago.  It, in and of itself was an amazing experience.  The person that died actually came to me when I was writing the talk and told me what he wanted me to say.  He was shot and killed suddenly, so he didn’t have a chance to bid a proper good-bye to his family.  You know how the tears flow and I get choked up when I’m at the pulpit.  Well, I prayed for strength to get through that talk without blubbering, because it would have taken away the spirit I was hoping would rest upon the congregation.  I don’t know how to describe it, but it was like someone poured extra strength ability to speak without falling apart into my veins!  I was bound up with some kind of power beyond my own possibilities!  I know it was because of prayers in my behalf.

That is what I am feeling now…bound up with some kind of power beyond my own.  I feel an unbelievable amount of patience and peace.  The speed has increased in how fast principles of the gospel are being deeply rooted into my understanding and into my heart.  I am so amazed at the tender mercies I receive and I love how God points them out to me, and how he shows me over and over and over again, how much he loves me!  It’s like entering into a beautiful spring garden and he is showing me all the beautiful things he knows my heart will delight in.

Sometimes trial, tribulation and heart ache are the keys we need to use to get into these places of beauty, light and understanding, but especially love.  How interesting that these same keys open two doors…they can also open doors to despair, sorrow and hopelessness.  How awesome is it that we have the agency to choose which door we go through.

I was at a doctor’s office the other day and an older man mentioned that he wished he could go back and change his life.  I reflected on my life and what I had been through so far.  Repeat…No Thanks!  It was hard enough the first time!  I prefer Jesus’ plan…repent and start fresh…every day!  Fabulous!

When I think back on this challenging time, I don’t think I’m going to remember the worries and sad moments, or the heart wrenching moments watching Jake suffer through the cancer treatments, so much as I will remember the warm feelings, the testimony building moments, the blessings and the closer relationship I gained with my Savior and Heavenly Father.  Hard?   Yes!  Worth it?  Yes!  Would I want to do it again?  No…because I have already traveled this road and I would like to try something else…seriously!

My peace is, that no matter how hard or wretched the journey, the sweetness, love and amazing blessings are on the other end of the pendulum and are equal in strength and magnitude!

I didn’t mean to write a sermon!  It’s very therapeutic for me to write what’s in my heart.  It helps me to feel more grateful when I share, so thanks for listening.

Love you guys!

Friday, October 29, 2010

What a Beautiful Place!

It's almost like a palace, isn't it?

(more to come...It's almost midnight and I'm just too tired to post the rest)

Chemo: Round 16

Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times!
The CT Scan showed the candy in his pocket.

You'll have to click on this picture to see the full effect.  To the right of the capital building is LDS Hospital where 4 of my boys were born.  Occasionally we get a nice view from Jake's hospital room.  Last time, we had a nice view of the parking garage!  See the storm rolling in? I had to drive home in a huge snow storm!

Ever since Jake found out he had cancer he has been wearing two different shoes because one of the shoes rubbed on his toe wrong and gave him an infection.  He ended up having his toenail removed.  I finally asked him if he wanted a new pair of shoes (I thought he was making a fashion statement).  He said, "yes, that would help!"  Hmmmm, all this time I thought he liked wearing his shoes like this!

Here's Jake with some of his Conkerr Cancer pillow cases.  They let him pick some colorful pillow cases when he is admitted, to brighten up the drab white colors of the hospital.  The tubes connected to him (which are actually connected to line up by his heart) are where they give him saline to make sure he is hydrated enough so the chemo doesn't fry his insides (too much).  When he is hydrated enough, they push the chemo through this IV that goes directly into his arteries.  I hate to think what it is doing to his heart!

He often brings his own blanket from home.  I have to wash everything when I get it home because it is toxic from his sweat.  He is smiling...for me.  He gets hardly any sleep because he has to go to the bathroom every hour.  The best part of the hospital stay is coming home.

Besides losing his hair and his appetite, he is losing a lot of strength and feeling in his fingers and toes.  I have to open toothpaste and water bottles for him.  He is down to 125 lbs.  It's getting harder and harder to find a place to give him his shots.  I have to make him double up and pinch the skin together to fabricate fat.

Love you Jake!  Hang in there, bud!

Happy Birthday Gennie/Grandma!

Gennie/Grandma Holladay turned 89 on her birthday!  She wanted fish and veggies for her special dinner, so that's what we had.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Reports are in!

I forgot my card reader, so the pictures will have to come later.

So we did the evaluation and a scan to determine how Jake has responded to his cancer treatment.

The scan shows that the lymph nodes that were swollen before have completely gone down!  His tumor has shrunk down to about half it's size.  He is, apparently, improving at a normal rate.

Now I was ready to ask the scary question, what was his prognosis.  Well, they don't know yet.  They are hoping that the cancer disappears, but won't know for sure until they can test for the next 5 years and come up cancer free on a continuous basis.  Things look positive, though, so thank you for your prayers in his behalf.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Big Day Tomorrow!

I don't know why I'm a little nervous for tomorrow!  Jake is getting some retesting done to evaluate how the treatment is going.  So far it has been mostly good news...but I fear there may be something heart breaking that we don't know about yet.  I stocked up on hugs from my friends on Saturday, just in case...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I remember when...

It wasn't too long ago, when my greatest worry was what to fix for dinner, how I was going to lose this extra weight and getting my kids through school.  I used to spend time clipping coupons, finding good deals on household items, planning get-togethers for family and friends, and the latest craft item in Homemaking.  No big challenges to handle, just being and doing. 

I was just floating along, really.  No need to know how to swim because I was always close to shore and could stand up if I got tired of paddling.  I wondered, then, what my next life challenges would be.  Now it feels as if I were thrown into the ocean, sometimes feeling it swallow me up in its massive, unforgiving, uncontrollable movement!  Unknown territory!  A place where your experience, wisdom and knowledge doesn't help you now. 

In the movie, Other Side of Heaven, when the men are thrown into the ocean with no land in sight, just huge waves crashing down on them, how would they know what direction to swim or if there was ever hope of reaching land while they were still alive?  Who finds their way in the middle of the ocean?  No landmarks to go by!  In the middle of a storm, you don't even have the heavens to show where you are!

I think the worse thing to do is to give up or do nothing.  Sinking is not moving forward.

There is always hope and courage to kick your legs and move your arms, to move forward.  Sometimes you find a life preserver to rest on while you find strength to go on.  Sometimes another swimmer comes along and pulls you up from the depths of the sea, just long enough for you to catch your breath and keep going.  You never know what God is going to send you to help you, but you know He will not forget.  He is aware and He will send you everything you need to make it through this storm, this challenge.  Amazingly, you see others trying to face their own challenges.  Sometimes they are swimming in the same current you are.  You find that even though you are struggling to make it through your own storm, reaching out and lifting them gives you more strength and power than you could imagine was possible!

Sometimes you wonder, isn't it enough that I have to swim this ocean?  Must there be waves to conquer, and rain and thunder and lightning and sea creatures?  Isn't it enough that I'm cold and wet and tired and afraid?

But, you keep going, one day at a time...and you learn things along the way, things that you would have never learned on dry land.  Things like patience, empathy, faith, long suffering, endurance, hope, love, what things you should value and cherish, what is truly unimportant...

...and when it's over, and were given the choice, would you choose not to make the journey?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

UEA Weekend

Dave took a few days for UEA weekend.  We hadn't been down to see Uncle Jack for a long time, so we loaded up the boys that were left home (Zack and Spencer) and headed South.  Dave got to help Uncle Jack feed the cows and I got to be the cook.  I love to make some good home cooking for Uncle Jack because he lives the bachelor's life and great meals are few and far between. The picture above is Maple Canyon.  I have some great memories here.  Uncle Jack and I used to ride up this canyon on the 4 wheelers.  Now he's 83 and doesn't go up much anymore.  He seems to get cold a lot lately.  I love the contrast of the rocks and trees here!  Our family used to camp here once a year and have a blast!  Now it's been overtaken by rock climbers.  The locals don't come here anymore.  It's still beautiful, though!
Spencer, Uncle Jack, Alan Bailey and Alan Bailey
Alan is my cousin by marriage (if you really stretch it!).  He helps Uncle Jack out all the time. He lives in Fountain Green.  He drove his team of horses over with his grandson, Alan.  He's pretty cool!  We like to kid and joke around!  He's good folks!
Bahbye Now!
Dave was having some allergy issues so we came back home Friday night, but not before we had some delicious pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy!  I checked on Jake on the way home and he was feeling ill.  I had John check to see if he had a fever and he did.  He was down in St. George visiting John and he forgot (so he says) to take his Neupogen shots with him.  His Uncle Scott is an OR nurse, but he was out of town (I'm sure he still doesn't know that Jake had to go the the ER).  Anyway, I called the on call doctor and they said to take him into the ER to get some antibiotics.  I'm so proud of Tyson (cousin) for having the smarts enough to call the bishop and have him give Jake a blessing before they took him in.  I was freaking out a little not being able to be there with Jake and make sure he was getting taken care of properly.  John did a good job, though.  They finally got checked out at 2 a.m.  Jake got home about 5:30, 6:00 p.m.

I got a call from an ER nurse requesting Jake to come back in and get admitted to the hospital.  The Hem/Onc consult doc wanted to give him some more antibiotics.  I politely told her "No Thanks!  We will follow up with our own docs here."  Jake wanted nothing to do with going back to the hospital!  Last time we had an ER visit, he was fine in the morning.  It didn't work out the same this time!  He still had a fever of 101.  No doctors I trust were available Saturday evening.  I knew I had to get some more antibiotics in him and some food.  With a little medical background, some research, common sense and a lot of faith, I found something that worked!  His fever was down this morning and completely gone by this afternoon!

I was pretty stressed and emotional all morning because the choir was meeting at my house and I wasn't sure if I would have to take Jake back to the ER this morning.  Wasn't sure if I could give my Primary lesson either.  It all worked out...somehow.  I was strengthened my some friends and the spirit at church.  I did get choked up, however, when they sang I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus in Primary because it now reminds me of John leaving home.  Jake gets another round of labs in the morning and if the counts are good, then we will stay the course.  If not, we will take a trip up to the clinic.

You know, I was so looking forward to a break from all this!  I guess it was silly of me to think, No chemo, no problems!  Sigh!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jake update 10/15

See Jake's Blog

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Well, I don't have any pics to share with this update, but this one about sums up what it looked like for John to leave home.  He hasn't accumulated much, so he didn't have much to take.  The most important things he wanted to pack were his golf clubs and his paintball stuff.  That's about all he took when he left home a few years back...he just wanted his golf clubs and paintball stuff.  Clothes were secondary items.  He borrowed the truck and headed to St. George to make a life for himself.  I attended a baptism of one of my Primary girls in the morning and reminisced about the day Jake and John were baptized.  His short life replayed itself in my mind and I found myself sobbing through the song, "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus". (I'm having a mommy crisis!  It's allowed!)  I went home and helped him pack everything into the truck.  I took him to lunch, but couldn't talk much without coming to tears.  He thinks I won't miss him much because I still have a house full of people here, but I will miss everything about him that I love.  I told him I was going to have a good cry after he left.  He said, "Oh, like you did when Zack left?"  That's the one!  That is the cry that lasts for months.  I broke down on the first hug good bye and told him,  "Don't get me wrong!  I'm glad you are getting on with your life, but I'm going to miss the heck out of  you!"  I told  him he might understand when he has his own kids just how much I love him.  Then I said, "Never mind!  Guys don't get this and you'll never be a mom!"  He agreed.  Then he did a couple of things.  I hugged him again before he left, then I watched the tail lights disappear around the corner with my son.  (Sigh!)  Bye Bye Baby Boy!  I Love you with all my breaking heart!
Jake & John

Sunday, October 3, 2010


 Dave let me shoot his AR15...every shot dead on!  Mostly I like to shoot the 22's.  I had fun popping the heads off those flowers!  I'd laugh every time I'd hit one! :)
 Mt Timpanogos from the West side of the lake.
 Iva and Gennie went with me up AF Canyon for a look at the fall colors.  Isn't she a cutie! :)
 I love this canyon!
 This is chemo Jake.  He is like this for about 2 days after chemo.  My friend, Sylvia, made this blanket for him because he spends the hot summer days wrapped up in quilts and blankets.  It's about 75 degrees in the house.
This is one of my favorite places to go!  I think it's called Strawberry Ridge.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dear God...

Dear God,
I won't ask why, and I'm not mad.  
I know this will be over sometime, and I know that You know how much my heart breaks to see my child in pain.

Thanks for being there for us!  Thanks for sending many angels to help us through this!  
Some give gifts of love.  
Some give gifts of service.  
Some give gifts of monetary means.  
Some give gifts of prayer and faith.  
Some give courage and hope.  
Some give a listening ear and a hug.  
Some give words of encouragement and comfort.
Some give thoughtful gifts to remind us that we are loved and thought of often.
Some give us gifts that make us laugh.

Thank you so much for the many lessons I have learned through this experience!  Lessons of compassion and service, patience and understanding, how to be optimistic and hopeful without losing sight of reality.

You haven't told me yet, what the outcome will be, and it scares me a little.  But I trust you, Father, and I know You will do what is best for Jake and for all of us.  Sorry you have to keep reminding me, but thank You for doing it often.

Thanks for showing me how to avoid the "Pity Puddles".  It really works!  Of course, You knew that already!

I knew You loved me, I just didn't know how much!  Thank you for reminding me, again and again and again and again....  I will never get tired of the different ways You show me.  


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hebrews 12:12

  • Hebrews 12:12

    Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

    Dear Iva,

    I'm thinking about you today, because since your stroke, your hand hangs down...and let's not forget those feeble knees!  I know it's difficult for you to not be the lifter, but you do lift my spirits when I see the progress you have made!  You keep trying and you work hard every day to improve the movement in your limbs and to make your memory work right.

    What a blessing for me that you moved even closer...right next door!  I can pop in much more often! :)  You and John are such great examples for me and my family.  Thanks for letting me be a part of your life because when I am lifting your hands, you are lifting mine.

    Love you!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Face!

No more shots this week!  Counts are up!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Blog!

My niece, Arianne, got together with her sisters and mom and put together a blog to keep updates on Jake and to make it possible for those who would like, to make contributions to Jake's ever mounting medical bills.

I don't have the heart to ask, but I do have a grateful heart that appreciates all they and you have done for us. 

Some of you received an email from me that they put together.  If you could pass that on to anyone who might be interested, that would be awesome!

Thanks for your interest in Jake and his well-being!

You Look Like Charlie Brown!!!

I suppose it was bound to happen.  We took Jake out to eat for several reasons, partly to see if we could put some weight back on him and partly because Dave wanted to continue the celebration of completing radiation therapy.  Monday is usually a good day for appetite for Jake because it's just before his next chemo treatment.  There was a young man at the door, and as we were leaving he started yelling that Jake looked like Charlie Brown and how he hated that guys shaved their heads!

Sorry Jake!  I'm so glad that there are only a few people are like that.  Most people ask me how you are doing and are concerned for you.  They pray for your return to good health.  Still, there are many who don't understand that your baldness was not your choice.  If it were up to you, your hair would be down in your eyes again!  Then there would be those people who would wonder why you don't get your hair out of your eyes!  Thanks for your patience, Jake!  We love you no matter where your hair is!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sigh, cry...

Chemo round 10:  another hospital stay, another bunch of bills...30 more weeks of this!  Ugh!
I know, I know....hang in there, chin up, have faith, just keep swimming....
It's hard to keep a good attitude while you watch your child deal with getting his insides fried and getting so skinny, you can't find any fat on his body to give him the shot he needs.  It hurts enough to make a grown man cry, but he doesn't...but he winces in pain, pain that I am causing's breaking my heart!

Maybe I shouldn't write about the hard days.  Not very inspiring is it.

Well, here is the part where I count my many blessings:
1.  Radiation will be over on Thursday! :)
2.  My friend, Jenene, helped me clean out the freezers...less mess, less stress!
3.  Jake has not had the worse side effects from Radiation and Chemo.
4.  The swelling is getting better.
5.  I can still get Jake to smile...most of the time.
6.  I received some beautiful flowers on Sunday to remind me that I am loved.
7.  One of my sweet Primary girls made me some cute magnets to put on my fridge.
8.  I still have Hope!