Monday, August 25, 2014

Classroom Blues

Only because Caleb has been stuck at home learning for a few days!  The school year is obviously going well, because he was devastated to miss class! 

Caleb's blood levels dipped even lower last week, which prompted a few complications.  That means only two weeks into class, he had to take a few days off.   We were really hopeful this wasn't going to happen, especially this soon. 

Caleb is doing well now though & spent the day at Texas Children's.  He got the "all clear" to go back to school, and he's ready for the challenge.
It's heavy on my heart to share this, but Caleb actually wanted me to.  He's really worried because he is struggling to keep up in P.E. at school.  As you probably know, his chemotherapy causes him to suffer severe leg pains and leg weakness.  He wants to "blend in" with the other kids and do what they do, but it's almost impossible for him.  He doesn't want to sit out, yet he doesn't know how he'll be able to do it.  He has three more years of this challenge ahead, so it's not going away anytime soon.  I asked him if I could share this on his blog, and he said I could if I thought people would pray for him.  Bless his precious little heart.  Please help us pray for his strength.  

God always has perfect timing and finds the best way to tell us exactly what we need.  I opened one of my favorite books of all time this week, "Jesus Calling," and received this beautiful message:  "Trust me and don't be afraid.  I want you to view trials as exercises designed to develop your trust muscles.  You live in the midst of fierce spiritual battles, and fear is one of Satan's favorite weapons.  When you start to feel afraid, affirm your trust in me."

I plan to work on my trust muscles and help Caleb strengthen his own little muscles, at the same time.

Don't you love it when Jesus calls?    :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

ABC's & 123's

The Lord is amazing!  Caleb is back in school and loving every minute of it!
He adores first grade and has a new caring & loving teacher.

Caleb's first day of class is one of the happiest days we have ever seen him experience.  He was glowing!   These two bros love seeing each other occasionally in the hallways!
David & I both took off work to experience the 1st day. It was overwhelmingly emotional for us all!

Oh glorious day!
Fresh grooming for class!
I thought it was special when Caleb got his very first haircut in life, but this time was even more meaningful!  He just needed a tiny trim & asked me to do it.  What an honor!  Life really is starting to get back to normal!

We had a little scare on Caleb's blood levels dropping the past week, which is why we're still vigilantly praying for his good health.  It was an important reminder to us that we just can't "let down our guard".

We are appreciative of the amazing children at Cal's school, who are surrounding him with love and compassion.  When I had lunch with Caleb on the 1st day of class, dozens of precious 5, 6, and 7 year old students so seriously explained to me how they've been praying for their little friend.   It touched my heart so deeply and made me so thankful. They had the cutest questions for him and were very respectful.  Several commented on how they liked his new hair and asked why it looks different now.  One asked if she could touch it.  So innocent and sweet.

 It was nice to snuggle up and do homework together this afternoon.  The biggest difference was the 16 chemotherapy pills that I had to add to his after-school snack.  He's handling it all like a champ!  There is no doubt in our minds that it's because of the grace of God and because of our prayer warriors.  Thank you for that. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Just forget about it!

That's what Caleb and Zachary "told cancer" this past week!

Heading off to Camp Periwinkle!  How cool is this for kids?  Their buses had A LOT of corvette escorts & police escorts, all the way from Houston to Burton, Texas!
Camp Periwinkle was a special time of bonding with others who just know & "get" the ups & downs Caleb & Zach have been through the past year.
One of my former colleagues at FOX26 was there & kept me updated about the boys.  That was HUGE.  A big thanks to David Steinhart for that!  Cal liked playing golf, under his direction!
So much fun to be had... from games, constant entertainment, crafts, and sports!  

Of course, the many chances for an adrenaline rush!
Everything at Camp Periwinkle, through Texas Children's Hospital, was just what the doctor ordered!

Caleb's Oncologist, Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, was right in the middle of the action, as always, lending love & support to all of the siblings, as well!
It was a great way to end the Summer Break.  The boys go back to school in two days.  We're anxious, yet excited for Caleb. He gets to meet his teacher TONIGHT! 

It's going to be a huge adjustment from the last year, so our prayers will be plentiful!  We pray that the transition goes well and that Caleb finds peace in getting to be around other children and that his new schedule isn't overwhelming!  We pray that he can handle his new responsibilities & be able to keep up with other students.  We pray that he just feels like his old self and not "the child with cancer".  God has brought him this far, and we know He'll help get him through this big phase, as well! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Chapter in Our Lives is Through...

.... but we'll keep you close, as always, Mrs. Tammy McDonald!  
Friday was Caleb's last day of home school Kindergarten! 
It seems like we'd be elated that Caleb has been deemed "officially ready" for 1st grade!  However, it means no more home visits with Tammy McDonald, one of the best teachers on Earth.  Everyone who knows Mrs. McDonald knows, when she's around, "everything feels like it's going to be okay".   She's our "security blanket".  We are still in awe that she spent so much time with us this year, teaching and encouraging Caleb.  She welcomed him on all days, even when he didn't feel like getting dressed and had to learn in his pj's, or when he was hyper from medications, or when he was so tired, he could barely hold his head up and could barely write.  She even had to deal with all of the steroid cravings and him crunching 'n munching all the way through class.  What an absolute angel.  We feel so blessed and humbled by her dedication.  We wish there were stronger words than "thank you".   We can say "God bless you", and that's powerful.  We hope you feel our love and appreciation forever, Tammy.  You made all the difference in the world for everyone in our family this year.  We will be forever grateful.

It's been somewhat of a rough week for Caleb.  He has suffered leg pain and exhaustion this week.  He doesn't complain, but has been very cranky, so we've just tried to be patient.  

He was thrilled that some of his buddies came over to play, but got beyond frustrated when he got too tired to keep up.

Another big event!  The group, the Sunshine Kids, does an amazing job of helping add a ray of sunshine into the lives of children with cancer.  They sure helped warm our spirits after a pretty rough week with Caleb.  We got there late, as David & I had to take turns carrying Caleb to Minute Maid Park, because his legs just couldn't carry him, and it was a long walk - but he got to meet almost every Houston Astro!  

It was a super fun experience, and the baseball players were so loving to the children!

The players took time to talk individually to each child and sign their jersey and/or baseball.
Since Caleb loves baseball so much, these up close & personal conversations were incredible for him.
Typical boys... enjoyed hanging out with the Astros' wives, just as much!  :)

It's a VERY BIG upcoming week for the boys.  They head to overnight camp for their first time without us.  They seem super excited.   They'll be going to Camp Periwinkle, where we've gone to the special "family camp" before, so they're familiar with the facility, which is great!  We don't get to talk to them until next Saturday.  Whew!  It's all through a  partnership with Texas Children's Hospital, so it's geared toward cancer patients, survivors, and their siblings between the ages of 7-12.  Caleb's Oncologist will actually be there the entire time, along with many other medical workers, so his chemotherapy will take place every day at camp.  Sure feels safe knowing that EVERYONE THERE knows personally what he and Zachary are both going through, plus he'll have access to the very best medical care 24/7.  That's powerful!

We'll be praying that the boys don't get homesick and can enjoy every second away from home, hopefully thinking about anything but cancer.  Please pray that Caleb feels better, that his legs get stronger, and that his tummy stops hurting.  Thank you & God bless!