In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I need a strategy

I'm trying to figure this out.  How do I face the world? I am completely depressed.  I am terrified.  I have lost six lbs in the past two weeks because I can't seem to eat anything.  All I want to do is sit and cry. 

But my family needs me to be there for them.  If I sit around gloomy, I will miss the fact that Andrew, one week after brain surgery and 10 days in the hospital is STILL running around, just as wild, just as wacky, just as happy, and just as cheerful as ever. 

If I sit around gloomy I will miss all the beautiful things in my life.  And there are many beautiful things!  If I sit around gloomy and worried, my family will be gloomy and worried.  So I can't be!  I have to be positive and search for the good.  And there is lots of good.  The newest "good" is that the cancer is localized.  I'm so thankful.

The movie, "Life is Beautiful" comes to mind often.  The main character is in a concentration camp with his son, attempting to make the surrounding horror humorous in order to shield his son from the harsh reality of their situation. These trips to the hospital for chemo will be difficult for us.  I am terrified to see my baby in pain.  I will be in mental agony.  But I cannot let him see that too often.  I realize that I have to be strong so that he can be strong. I have to be positive so that he will be positive.  I will have to do my best to make the horror as pleasant as possible.  God help me.

I cannot let my emotions run me.

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words.  We will need many of them in the coming year.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Looking at a year of chemo, starting next Thursday.  It is so hard to believe because he is still as happy as can be, looking great, except for the gigantic scar across his hairline.  My poor son is about to be tortured and poisoned in an attempt to keep him alive.  And I will have to watch it.  It is going to be a painful, gut-wrenching year.  Someone wake me up.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Hey there all.  Just received bad news that my youngest has some kind of tumor behind his eye.  Completely shocking.  We don't know the details yet, what kind of tumor it is, etc.  But there will obviously have to be some kind of invasive and/or difficult treatment involved.  Probably won't be on here much for a while as I will obviously be pre-occupied. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Daily Affirmations

It struck me like lightning.  I was standing there, telling my mother-in-law how sweet Aaron had been with his little brother at school yesterday.  I had called my husband an hour before to tell him.   I had just posted on my blog about how proud I was.  But had I told Aaron?  No. 

Mid-sentence with my mother-in-law, as she was agreeing with how sweet he was (grandmothers are great for that), I apologized, left the conversation, and ran upstairs to his bedroom.  Thankfully, he was still awake.  I told him how proud I was of him, and how very kind and thoughtful he had been with his brother.  His smile was huge, and I gave him a big hug and kiss.

So then I went to the next bedroom, to do the same thing with Sammy.  I needed to tell him I was proud of him, I wanted to complement him on something for the day.  But he was sound asleep.  Bummer.  Thankfully I remembered this morning.

It struck me how often I let a day go by without a verbal, "I'm proud of you" or "I really liked the way you did (blank)."   In the blur of things and the craziness of the days... I forget.  I say "I love you" a lot.  But maybe I am not specific enough.

I am excellent at pointing out all of the things my kids shouldn't be doing; all of those things that frustrate me; all of those things that make me feel like pulling my hair out. 
So I made up my mind that it needs to be a new bedtime ritual, or perhaps just something I keep in the forefront of my mind.  No matter how frustrating the day is, or how manic-crazy they are at bedtime, or how much I want to run downstairs and escape to my own little world, I need to take the time to say, "I'm proud of you for (blank)."   "I loved it today when you did (blank)." 

Otherwise, how will they know?  They can't read my mind.  They don't read my blog.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Visiting Kindergarten

I helped out with my son's kindergarten class yesterday. 
It was fun! 
They went on a "plane trip" to Brazil.

 I had to take my four-year-old with me (the blondie in the orange),
and at first, he was kinda bored.
(and I don't tend to sugarcoat)
my oldest son, Aaron, was so darn sweet to him!
I loved it.

He ushered him around the room,
saved him a seat,
and helped him cut things out.
I was amazed!

Here the kids are all making "rain makers." 
(shipping tubes filled with beans and rice)

Here they are shaking their rain makers:

Before I left, I saw this on the shelf:

I had to take a picture. 
 Looks like Aaron has some competition.

I was proud of my big little guy.


PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Mamarazzi

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You Capture...Fresh

sounds so clean, so aromatic...
and yet

 when I hear the word, "fresh" I think:

  fresh diaper.

Sad, I know.

And it is very hard to make a diaper look good in a picture.

But it does give you some indication of my life.
6.5 years and counting of solid diaper changing.
Relief may be in sight...
I hope.

And then of course,
fresh breath...

Always important.

One rare morning we woke up at 6:15, and I immediately scrambled out of bed
and ran outside in my pajamas
(thankfully the neighbors were not around)
and started taking pictures of the
fresh new day

And there, on the roses, was fresh morning dew..

or possibly water from the sprinklers...?

And of course,
who doesn't start out a fresh new day with an exciting episode
of "Max and Ruby?"

Don't judge me. 
(I liked how the morning light came through the windows.)

To make up for the "zoned out" time on the couch, we went outdoors for some
fresh air.

and the fresh scent of creosote.

And I have always liked this quote:

 "Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it."
From Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery

But it's near impossible to take a picture of tomorrow.

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wishful Thinking


wanted to be doing this:

or this:

can you see him peeking through the fence there, on the right?

But it was much, much, much too cold for Mommy.
So he stayed behind the gate.

for more Wordful Wednesdays, check this out:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog Party...Randomness

It's a Blog Party! To find out more, click this link:

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Hello!  I am Julie.  I have three boys, three dogs, and one husband. 

Random Facts

I lose my cell phone about once a day.  The only way I find it,  is to call it.  I wish I could call my keys.

Every day after school, my sons come home and empty the sand from their shoes into a bucket. 
We are saving up for a sandbox...
Not really, but we should!! 

I have my Master's degree in Marriage and Family therapy. I currently stay at home with my kids.
I overanalyze everything. Mostly myself.

I run to stay fit; I run to stay sane.

I need to make a chore chart for myself.

I am hooked on LOST but wish they would answer a few more questions! 
How are they going to wrap this all up in a few weeks?!

 I tend to let our kids go a little wild with their "creativity."

My husband has found a unique way to organize our garage:

I hit my head on a bike at least once a day...

I love to travel.  I wish I could do more of it.

Secret Talents

In this picture I was trying to do a cartwheel on a piece of wood stretched across a swimming pool. 
I tried several times.
I never quite landed it.  One foot on, two feet on, but darn it!  Never found myself standing on the other side.
Thankfully, I am still alive to tell about it.

I make a mean PB and J. 

I'm pretty good at face-painting.

and arm painting

Daily Ponderings

Does the guy on the corner, dressed like the Statue of Liberty, really bring in business?
or does he scare it away...?

Putting fruit in my son's lunchbox seems to be an exercise  in futility. 
I put it in.  He doesn't eat it.  It comes back home. 
 I put it in. He doesn't eat it. It comes back home. 
 But if I don't put it in, I feel like a bad mom.  So we play this little "pass the fruit" game.

I am afraid to look under my bed.  No, not afraid of monsters.  Afraid of what I might find under there.  It has become a dog den.  Old food wrappers, stolen underwear (mine, ugh!), and wooden toys handmade in Germany chewed to bits...Oh, I've braved it a few times, and it is not pretty.

I'm still finding plastic Easter eggs wherever I go, parking lots, the park...are you? 

Usually when the house is quiet, it is a bad thing.
When the car is quiet, it is usually a good thing.
However, it is not usually THIS good:

I asked the kids to help me decorate for my husband's birthday:


I just finished reading The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.  I LOVED it.  
If you are looking for a good book, I highly recommend it. (See my side bar for pic.) 

Another great book is Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. 
Read it!  You will love it.  Well, at least, I loved it.

Happy Blog Party and Random Tuesday!


The Grass IS Greener in the Midwest, but the Desert Is Beautiful.

Okay, so I feel the need to make some amends for my last, "the grass is always greener on the other side," and "I am so deprived of old buildings and mist" post.  Mostly I was just being silly.

But let me explain.  I grew up loving classic British literature (and some not so classic).  Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and (while not British) I also loved the Anne of Green Gables series.  Lots of rolling grass, old buildings, oceans, I always loved the romance and beauty of that kind of scenery.  And it is beautiful to visit.  

But I can't live in it.  I lived for one year in Michigan and one year in Pennsylvania and it was HARD for me.  I lived in California for 11 years, and even that was more cloudy and rainy than I prefer.  When you get used to the sun, it is hard to go without.   So to clear things up:  I  love where I live and am very grateful.

Last night we drove to a nearby mountain park and spent the early evening there.  We watched the sun go down.  It was gorgeous.  I am really enjoying my new camera, and I am trying to be more thoughtful when I take my pictures.  It is amazing how much more beauty I notice when I am trying to find those perfect shots.  Suddenly I noticed how the sun shines through the petals of the creosote blooms, and how the the whole mountain is covered with beautiful yellow wildflowers.  My camera literally provides me a new lens with which to appreciate the beauty around me.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Photo Story Friday...A Walk Through Suburbia

It seems that many of my new bloggy friends live in the North East, or Midwest.  I keep seeing beautiful pictures of the ocean, and forests, and wooded pathways meandering off into the misty distance.  People write about going outside and walking around their neighborhoods, and they share pictures of old farmhouses, grassy meadows, reflective ponds, and wildlife. And it makes me feel, well, like I am missing out on something here in my desert suburbia.  When we go on walks we end up at playgrounds, and when we go outside, we ride scooters in the frontyard, or go for a swing in the backyard.  No old buildings with character.  No grassy meadows filled with wildflowers. At least I thought so...

So today, I thought I would share pictures of our typical walk.
Excuse me if I seem a bit defensive, but perhaps our scenery is not so different after all...

See, we have rocks and trees.

And we have pathways. 

Not much mist.
But pathways, yes.

And we have meadows, with wildflowers.

Well, kinda.

We defnitely have old buildings.

Character, not so much.

And we have reflective po...well, reflective windows CPA office buildings.

I will grant you. 
That one is a bit of a stretch.

But we do have a bakery. 
And we can walk to it.

And that
is about as romantic
and idyllic
as it gets around here.

But we're not complaining.

Who needs romance and misty scenery
when you have cookies?

View many more Photo Story Fridays here:

PhotoStory Friday Give me your best shot at Better in Bulk

Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

The way it is...

I confuse myself.  A lot of the time.   I probably spend half of my thoughts contemplating my parenting skills.  I mostly wonder why it is so hard for me to be present with my kids.  Why is it so hard?  Why do I sit there playing with blocks, thinking about what else I should be, or could be doing?  The could be part really gets me. Because then I feel selfish.  It is a constant tug-of-war in my actions and in my thoughts over how much time to spend with my kids, and how much time I give to myself.  Sometimes I feel like I treat my children like accessories. I carry them around wherever I go, but they are not my focus.  Sometimes I find myself resenting how much they hinder me, like carrying around a heavy suitcase. And when I catch myself feeling like that, I feel guilty, and I feel sad.  Even now, as I write this, while my two oldest are in gymnastics, my son is sitting next to me coloring.  It would be a perfect time to focus on him, but here I am writing this. 
Okay, the guilt was too great.  I just took a break to color Dora's Big Red Chicken. 

Other times I feel like I am losing myself to the caretaker I have become.  The other day someone commented on my facebook status that he thought I "loved being a mom more than anyone else he knew" or something to that effect.  And I, of course, started to overthink that, and read into it, that he meant all I talk about is my kids.  And I wasn't sure it was a compliment.    What are my skills anyway?  I have forgotten.  Am I good at anything?  I find myself spending too much time on-line...what am I looking for?  Validation? Attention? Adult Feedback? Probably all of that. 

When all three kids are together it is overwhelming.  It is.  Fights and frustrations, screeching and crying.  I start to feel like I am losing my mind.  I run to my computer to escape. And sometimes I lose my temper and scream.  And then I feel guilty.  And I wonder...  I don't even feel good at being a mom and that is what I have sacrificed my other goals to do.  What am I doing?  I let my kids watch too much TV because it gives me a break. And then I feel guilty.

I am relieved when I hear different perspectives.  Their teachers love them.  Their peers enjoy playing with them.  They seem well adjusted.  So maybe I am doing something right. I hope?

I will just continue to pray, and think, and sit up at night writing in my journal about how I wish I could focus more, and play more, and be more present.  Hopefully it will start to sink in more. Hopefully soon the joy will lead the way, and not the should

Because I do love being at home with them.  I do.  I don't want to do anything else, and the thought of going back to work and having daycare or a babysitter watch them is not even an option.  So, I will continue to muddle along and try to take more note of the times where they are sweet and where I am sweet with them.  Because there are plenty of those times.  There really are.  I just take them for granted.

So, am I too involved with my kids, and losing myself, or am I so focused on myself I forget my kids?  I'm confused.  It feels like both... and neither feels very good.  So I'm looking for balance and peace and playfulness.  I'll start by logging off and coloring with my son.  :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You Capture: Comfort

A few more moments in a soft bed
A tight hug from a tiny body
An unexpected cup of coffee
A welcome embrace
A toothless smile
A bowl of salty chips
A familiar face in a new crowd
A favorite pair of jeans
A firm, protective touch
An old couch
A peaceful home
A warm, gracious greeting
A plush pillow
A decadent dessert
A cheesy, caloric pasta
An understanding shoulder
A silent massage
A snuggly frog

Wishing you comfort, however you find it.

For more You Capture moments: