Monday, February 21, 2011

Bouncy bouncy

One of MY favorite things that Garrett and Paige got for their birthday was an inflatable jumping arena. It's easy to inflate with the air compressor, deflates and packs away to a relatively small size, and allows the kids to expend mass quantities of energy. So this morning Steve blew it up for them. It was an instant hit!

I think it definitely achieved the purpose of wearing them out. We'll see how longs naps last today!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Christie's family arrived during our last couple of days in Southern California. It was so much fun seeing our kids with their little cousins. Garrett and Paige are just a month older than their cousin Luke. Garrett enjoyed pushing his Matchbox cars with Luke, and Paige just kept trying to hug him or pat his head.

Molly and Hailey immediately took off together. They had so much fun playing "pretend" together and making artwork for Grandma. It's very special that they have one another.

And of course, their Uncle Scott (also known as "Uncle Sock") is always a great source of fun. He entertained the girls for an hour by letting them throw a soft rubber ball at his head. They thought this was pretty much the funniest thing ever.

It's nice to be home, but saying goodbye to Shirley was the hardest thing ever. We are unsure if the kids and I will be able to see her again before she leaves us (although Steve will probably travel down again). So goodbyes were hard. A lot of tears. A lot of hugs. And a lot of love.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Well, we're down in Southern California spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. This visit has been extremely surreal. We came to help take care of Shirley, but the last three days have been more of a family reunion. The house has had a rotating door with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends coming and going. The house has been filled with love and laughter and tears and although it's horrible to watch someone you love die, it's such a blessing to be able to say goodbye. And as I watch people come and go it is extremely obvious that Shirley is a very LOVED woman. Everyone has been chipping in to feed the masses and it's wonderful to be a part of a family that care for one another so well.

The kids are doing really well. We try and get them out of the house every day, and thankfully there's a park right across the street from Grandma and Grandpa's house. That's extremely convenient.

We've finally told Molly that Grandma has cancer and that her body is shutting down and will soon be going to heaven. It wasn't a big shocker to her, because it is obvious that Grandma is very sick right now. But Molly amazed me with her strength and faith. Last night she prayed, "Dear Lord, please help Grandma not hurt. Please help her go to heaven so she is in a new body and isn't sick anymore." She had a hard time seeing Grandma so sick at first, but yesterday she crawled into bed with her and watched VeggieTales on my laptop. That touched my heart.

The hospice care is seriously outstanding and they're trying everything to keep Shirley comfortable. We are so appreciative of that. It is very difficult for her to get out of bed now and we are thankful that she can just sleep a lot. This experience is so hard. It's such a blessing to be able to say goodbye and hold her hand and pray with her, but it's very surreal to talk to her about her wishes for a funeral and what life will be like when she's gone. And although her body is frail, she's still very much the same person... concerned for everyone else. She is such a beautiful person. Please be praying that her nausea can be kept at bay and that she continues not to have pain. And as much as we don't want to go, please be praying that she goes quickly. She has expressed to me that she doesn't want to linger, and has asked me on several occasions to pray with her for exactly that. Please God... help her go quickly and peacefully.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

They're TWO!

Last week Garrett and Paige turned TWO. Although our celebration was small (as we were leaving for Southern California the next morning) it wasn't without fanfare. Like any good two year old, they are obsessed with Elmo so it seemed like an appropriate theme. So Steve and I whipped up some festive cupcakes for the occasion.

Unfortunately, amidst all the emotion of the week I forgot that I was out of birthday candles. So we used plastic candles from their toy birthday cake set. They didn't seem fazed at all and proceeded to try and "blow out" the plastic flames after the birthday song.

Garrett and Paige definitely enjoyed the cupcakes. I was extremely happy about that considering I burnt the first batch and had some drama with the new butter cream icing recipe I tried. It's nice to know the effort was appreciated.

It was very special that Steve's aunt, uncle and cousins were able to join us for the evening, particularly because they were all preparing for their own trips down to southern California. I think we all enjoyed the evening to just celebrate two wonderful little kids and have fun together!

Of course, no birthday party is complete without an onslaught of gifts. People were so generous and Garrett and Paige loved everything they got. But Paige's favorite was definitely the chef outfit from Aunt Christie. And Garrett's favorite was definitely the Matchbox cars from Nani and Papa.

During a tough time for our family, it was really nice to be able to once again celebrate the blessings we've been given. And Garrett and Paige are such a special reminder of that!

Monday, February 7, 2011


This has been directly copied from Shirley's CaringBridge website and written by Christie:

Let me begin by saying that the note that my mom wrote yesterday (Sunday) has so much more meaning behind it now. God is an awesome God even in the midst of heartache and suffering. I know that there is always a reason for everything even if it is not to our liking or understanding. I truly believe that God sent Blanca to help give my mom peace and comfort in knowing that God is with each and everyone one of us throughout this journey and that He will be with us to protect us long after my mom is gone to be home with Him.

With that said, I will begin the update that is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to write. Today the oncologist met with my mom to let her know the results and findings from the MRI. The cancer has metastasized to my mom’s liver. The cancer is now no longer treatable. As the Dr. put it, ‘the cancer has taken on a course of its own.’ The plan and course of action now is to get my mom home and comfortable. They met with a Hospice nurse today to set up the at home comfort care. I am not sure of all the details as far as what that will entail or when she will be released from the hospital. I do know that my mom is more than ready to be in the comfort of her own home with Jim and Dr. Groucho (their kitty). I am sure that being home will bring her so much comfort both physical and mentally. Your continued prayers and support are much appreciated through this next leg of the journey.

A loving God

Life is tough right now. Steve's mom Shirley is in the hospital desperately trying to fight late stage colon cancer that has metastasized. It is very hard watching someone you love suffering and feeling like you can't do anything to help. And Shirley, always loving and concerned for everyone else, wrote this note last night:


Sunday, February 6th

Today I met a beautiful Christian lady in my hospital room. She said she noticed me yesterday while I was napping with Jim at my side holding my hand. Her name is Blanca Medina and she is one of the housekeepers here. Blanca said that we touched her heart and she prayed for us last night.

This afternoon she was cleaning the room and I smiled at her when she looked my way. She then came over to my bed and introduced herself and asked my name and if she could pray with me. She got on her knees and held my hand and we prayed together.

She stayed a while and we talked about God’s plan and that no one knows how long we will be here. Blanca said that Jesus wanted her to talk with me and give me reassurance. He wanted her to tell me to tell my husband and family not to be sad. When I do go to be with our Lord, I will always be close to them. Blanca said that I would be their angel. She asked if she could visit me when she was off work tomorrow. I look forward to her visit.

Thanking all of my loving family and friends for your continued love, prayer and encouraging words.

My love to all – Mom / Grandma / Shirley


I know she's right. Not only is Shirley close to God right now... but we all are. Our hearts ache that she is suffering right now... but we know He is holding her in His hands. We love her and want to be with her today... but we wait in Him until we can leave Thursday night. We don't understand why all this is happening... but we trust in Him. He's the Giver of Peace, the Protector of the Weak, and with Him there is always eternal hope.

"I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold" (Psalm 18:1-2).