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!