We have been so super blessed this season. Thank you to all of you who made us feel so loved.
As we look forward to this coming year, I think I am going to do something I did a few years ago. My good friend (and brilliant photographer), Melissa Jacks gave me the idea. She picks a word for the year (instead of a resolution). I have picked FAITH and ENDURE. But this year I want more of an action word. I am thinking of “Engage”.
So here is hoping for a great New Year to you all!!
So my nephew Spencer Charles Curtin gets home from his two year mission with our church. He has been up in Alaska. Welcome home! We missed you and I can’t wait to see you!!
And just went I thought I could relax, since Avery had her two week break from chemo…..NOPE!
Sunday she woke up with “fuzzy vision.” For those that don’t remember….”fuzzy vision” has always meant something BAD. So of course I panicked. Called her oncologists office. The doc on call didn’t seem as upset as I was. He said to just watch her. Okay…..
Then later that day she was complaining of light headedness and her arm was feeling weird again. Again I panicked. Again the doctor didn’t seem as upset as I was. He had me give her some steroids and plan to be in their office when her doc came in.
I didn’t sleep all that night. I kept wondering if I should just stick her and I on a plane to Seattle. First thing I called her ophthalmologist (I really like her btw). Their office opened at 7am (who knew!). So I took her right over.
She did a full exam. Turns out her eyesight is getting BETTER! WHAT?? Just slightly widening her field of vision. But we will take it!! So then I took her over to the oncologist office. He did a CBC (blood count check), everything looked okay. WHAT???
Here is what they think. Since she has her slight improved, the brain is not sure what to do with this new information. Thus it comes out a bit muddled….fuzzy vision.
Her weight dropped again. He said if she goes down TWO OZ., she gets an NG tube. But he did give us off until Dec. 26th. I think some (or most) of her issues are her eating and drinking. He agrees. But he is a softy and she cries when he mentions NG tube. But he put the line down. If she goes down at all….NG tube. I actually wouldn’t mind getting it back in. Then at least when something happens I know that is isn’t dehydration or lack of nutrition. That it is something we can’t fix on our own and she needs to go to the hospital. Right now, it’s hard to make that call.
Hope your holiday season is peaceful and relaxing…..
So we knew that this cold and flu season we might end up in the hospital. But so far we have been pretty lucky. That was until I got a call on Friday. Avery called from school. But when she was talking to me her speech was slurred and she said she had a headache and stomach ache. The head ache really concerned me. So I picked her up and took her right to her dr's office.
On the way she told me her left arm had been going numb. OKAY...now I was in a complete panic. All I could think of was stroke! Her teacher called while I was on the road, she was also very concerned. She doesn't have kids of her own and had never seen a seizure. I was pretty sure it wasn't seizure, but I mentioned "stroke" and I think she just about had a heart attack herself.
We got Avery's blood drawn and her red blood was low. He sent us right to the ER for a head CT scan. Which luckily they did right away and......everything was clear. They sent us up to peds to get her blood and some fluids. We actually got to come home that night! YAY. After a bit of delay.....
When she gets blood they usually give benedryl but because of her issues, he didn't premeditate just in case. Half way through the bag of blood, she broke out in hives. They gave her hydrocortizone (her body is super low on that right now) and benedryl. In 30 minutes, she looked better, so they gave the rest of the blood. We got home about 11:30pm. Not too shabby. Especially since I thought we would be there at least one night.
So far no more numbness. A bit of a headache, but that might be that she is a bit dehydrated. We will see what the doc says tomorrow.
And to all a good night.......
Hope you all have your shopping done.....I have a ways to go.
So we have had a rough week with Avery. Since she got her NG tube out, she has lost 6 lbs. She is the lightest she has been! SUPER NOT GOOD! If you didn’t already know that. It would be great for me….not for her. Her doc almost put in the tube right there. She cried. So he gave her until today to drink two instant breakfasts a day and eat. So far, so good. So no NG tube…yet. We will see if she keeps it up.
And how is your holiday shopping coming? Mine is pretty good since Avery got to do Shop with a Cop on Wednesday morning. It is an amazing event put on by the North Las Vegas Police dept. We showed up to Target (one of my favs) and Santa came in style. In a cop car with lights and sirens blaring. Then she got assigned an officer. Hers was Officer Steve. A super nice guy with three young boys. Then they gave her $250 and an hour to spend it.
So the first 30 minutes I hung out at the front of the store. Then I checked on them. She needed to use the rest room, and her cart had four items. While we were in the bathroom Officer Steve totaled her up. She was at $30. Okay, time for mom to step in and help. We got sometime for everyone on her list, plus quite a hall for her. She was thrilled.
If you are able to participate in Shop with a Cop, I have a tip for you. To help with holiday shopping try Abe books. Just so you know, I don’t get paid to tell you about stuff. My blog isn’t a money making machine. I think I made $.32 in the last three months….Seriously.
Abe books is a place for mostly used books. IT”S AWESOME. But just a note, watch the shipping. There have been a few that the book was $1 but shipping was $9. Just pay attention. I was always been super happy with the books I have ordered.
I had checked it out from the library and LOVED it…so I bought it. And yes, I am working on making my own patterns. I have enough of a grasp of patterns, but sometimes, they just don’t make what I am looking for…so I am making my own. I made Hallie and outfit this week. I forgot to take a pic. Maybe next post. But it turned out super cute.
For the reader on your list…try Abe books.
We get an extra week this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It just means one more week to try to cram everything in!!
Avery did get chemo yesterday, did her fashion show and then went and got red blood. We got home about 1:30am. Yep, I am TIRED today. And we have a 10am conference call (media training), 12:10pm dr. apt and 3:30pm piano lessons. WHEW!
For anyone who wants to see her interview they did for the show....
here it is
But my darling friend Kathy found a similar coat to the one Avery has been dying over. And it’s one sale. And Kathy’s son works at Kohls (where she found it). And he gets a discount. SCORE!!
And SCORE again…Avery got to keep one of her outfits from last night. She picked the one that she was on Fox news with. It was the warmest.
So I am feeling super blessed. As usual. We have had a great amount of blessings along with the overwhelming medical stuff.
OH, and we are going to Forgotten Carols. It’s here in Vegas next Monday night. And I noticed Payton had NOTHING to wear. So I whipped up this outfit (see I am not just ignoring you out in bloglandia, I am usually sewing or cleaning if I am not at doctors visits).
Pretty cute if I do say so myself…..
Update on Avery. SHE GOT HER NG TUBE OUT!!! YAY. Just in time for Driscoll family photos! She isn’t eating as much as she should. So we will see if it stays out.
She has a Make-A-Wish event on Wednesday night. She gets to model some super cute clothes from Dillard's.
Here is her interview with the cute outfit (Jessica Simpson, btw. Love her stuff!!)
Sorry you have to watch a commercial first....
Avery found this super cute coat while trying on her other stuff. She is DYING over it. She kept going back to the rack and looking at it…..and feeling it. Honestly I don’t know where she gets her obsessiveness…….I seriously have a mini me……..that is kind of scary. This might be a problem……
Super CUTE huh??? She tried it on in cream. Love, but not practical. She wasn’t a fan of the pink…total surprise. It did come in black too, but it was too dark on her. The red was the one that she would get. DARLING!!
It’s not too much, $50. And it’s machine washable, plus. But right now that isn’t in the budget, with the upcoming holiday and all. So if anyone has any great Dillard’s hookups…let me know.
I LOVE the food this time of year. The smells, the spices, the food. I made Holly’s pumpkin cookies with maple frosting...yum!!
And if that isn’t enough you can try the new pumpkin spice kisses!! My friend April brought us some. Holy delic!! (something else to help you carb load this season)
And we are celebrating!! Avery is at school today. She MIGHT go a whole day today. I can count on one hand the number of days she has been to school this year for an entire day, including today. So it’s kind of a big deal. But she is looking better.
I was going through Avery’s closet and noticed she had almost no cute things to wear. So I whipped up this little outfit. Turned out cute…but I think she needs a hat. Have to work on that. Oh and with the bow, it’s adjustable. So as she gains weight (thank goodness), we can let it out. Or if little sister borrows it, we can synch it back in. Kind of genius, I know. I am working on a pattern. It will probably be out sometime in late 2050….JK.
Btw, that pattern is called hounds tooth. Don’t you just love it??? I do. If you haven’t already noticed.
Happy Carbgiving….I mean Thanksgiving!
So we took Avery to Arizona to visit family. Guess what??? She ATE! She ate a lot! (for her). Chris tried this burger at Carl’s Jr. She ate almost the whole thing…twice.
Then we came home…to the same thing as before. Oh well. At least while we were gone she did fantastic! I will take improvement, even if it’s only for a few days.
And we made the cake. HOLY CALORIES!! It was good. I would change a few things. I will make it again with the changes and then post.
Now that I am home, and the laundry is mostly done, I am in a TOTAL PANIC! Thanksgiving is in eights days! And Christmas? I don’t even want to do that number. I have bought a few things. But if you know me usually I am done by Halloween. And I can’t get Hallie to commit to any one thing. This might be scary.
A few things that might make your holiday season easier. CROCKPOT LINERS. For a few bucks you can save tons of time scrubbing out that messy ol’ crockpot.
Avery (actually all of us) has been struggling. We decided to take a few day trip and go see my sister-in-law in Arizona. Not that we need more sunshine. We got plenty of that. We just all need a mental break. While we are there we are going to celebrate Hallie Dawn’s birthday. She wants this cake.
Really? I mean she is six. Or going to be six tomorrow. And we are already doing a five layer super fattening something….okay. I even tried to change her mind with a chocolate Oreo one. Nope. It has to be this one. White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cake.
Let me tell you a bit about Hallie.
Hallie was a total surprise to our family from the beginning. We were living in Idaho at the time. Then on top of that Chris went to a Seattle Seahawks game three weeks before I was due. Of course I went into labor…that night. My friend Dawn took me to the hospital. Now you need to understand my longest labor up till that point was four hours. There was no way Chris would make a flight home by then. But my little Hallie had other plans. She waited and waited and waited for dad to get there. I wasn’t progressing, but after having Avery at home on the floor (I know, a whole other story) I wasn’t going home either. So Dawn and I walked the halls for hours! Chris arrived and so did the epidural. Then Hallie started to go into distress. My body wasn’t quite ready, but the doctor decided she needed out. So after a lot of pushing out came my too early partially blue baby. They took her to the nursery and started her on oxygen. It was 24 hours before she settled down and started breathing right. Girl drama from the start.
But since then she is our comic relief. She doesn’t mind that I am gone all the time taking Avery to the doctor. That just means she gets to go to friends houses and play. Just fine by her.
The other day I was talking to Avery about Christmas. I was encouraging her to pick something that would help her feel better.
Hallie pipes up, “I know what would make me feel better.”
“Yeah, what would that be Hallie?”
“A puppy. A puppy would really make me feel better.”
“You are not getting a puppy.”
“Oh….ok.” It was worth a shot.
Then yesterday Chris had the day off and we went together to drop her off at school.
“I know what you are going to do when we are all at school.”
Chris, “Yeah? What do you think we are going to do?”
Hallie, “You and mom are going to make out.”
Chris (laughing), “I wish!”
She sure is fun. We don’t know what we would do without our fun Hallie Dawn.
Avery’s make-a-wish trip was so amazing! There is no way that we could ever duplicate it on our own. And yes, I still have more pics, but I honestly don’t know how to get them off the CD. It’s formatted for movies and my computer doesn’t play movies. Anyhow, our Make-A-Wish chapter here is having a 5k (or mile if you prefer) run to raise money to grant more sick kids wishes.
Mark you calandars for FEB. 2!! It’s here in Las Vegas at Town Center. Come join us on “TEAM AVERY” and help us reach our goal!! It’s only $20 for adults and $15 for kids. You can sign up HERE. It takes lots of money for each wish. We have personally seen how important it is for these kidos!
And we are looking for a business to donate our shirts. She wants pink shirts that say “TEAM AVERY” and of course could have your company info. also. We need about 50. So if you know of anyone, PLEASE let us know!!
So if you are like me and TOTALLY carb loaded this weekend….and now feel like BLECH….make some super yummy cream of mushroom soup! Great in recipes, by itself or try my variation. You will totally thank me!!
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Makes about 3 cups
2 cups mushrooms (any kind but I had button and baby bellas)
1/2 onion diced small
2 cups beef stock (pork, chicken or vege stock also work)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream (or sour cream)
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add in the mushrooms and onions. Salt and pepper them. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until onion is translucent and mushrooms are dark and about half original size. Add in flour and rosemary for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in stock, stirring constantly. Add in bay leaf and turn down to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add in cream and serve.
Add in 2 Tbsp green chilies and 1 cup shredded chicken breast. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Great on a cold day!!
YAY! Avery got the last bag of chemo yesterday. This round is officially OVER! We now only have three more to go. I am sure there will be more delays, but for now…we have made progress.
Halloween is next week, I am so not ready. I haven’t even bought candy yet. At least the kids costumes were done thanks to my sisters and mom.
And the air has been turned OFF! Hopefully til next May…. but we will see. So I have finally done some baking. I had seen the icing recipe on pinterest, but when my friend brought these over, I had no idea they would be so SUPER yummy.
White or yellow cupcake recipe. Like this one. Or a mix…whatever you want.
Bake according to directions. When cooled slightly, but still warm, make up any flavor jello you desire, but use half the water called for. The small box is plenty but whatever you have is fine.
Poke holes in the cupcakes with a fork or knife. Pour about 1-2 tsp of Jell-O over cupcakes. It’s easier if you leave it in the pan. Put in the fridge and let set for 1-2 hours. When set make up a package of vanilla instant pudding using half the milk called for. Add in a small (8oz) container whipped topping. Frost. Try not to eat all frosting before it gets on cupcakes. Also they need to be refrigerated if not eating right away…you may not have to worry about this. They will be eaten quickly.
Use can use different flavors of jello and even different flavors of pudding. Like strawberry and cheesecake. Or Orange and chocolate. Use your imagination!!
I learned about depression while living in the Pacific Northwest. Before that I had never really experienced it or understood it. And since moving back to Vegas, all mine has evaporated with the sunshine.
Avery however has not been so lucky. I noticed a few things like she almost refuses to go to school. She has been 2 hours in the last three weeks! And even piano, which she LOVES, she doesn’t want to practice or go to lessons (which are already paid for so it’s super frustrating for me). It’s like she has given up and only wants to sit at home and watch TV. So NOT like Avery.
And Nathan too. I mean seriously? He cries. All the time. I know he is 13. I know he has to do more. But really…tears? All the time? I wasn’t expecting that.
So I talked to Chris and to Avery’s doctor about her. Her doctor suggested some great medicine, which we might have to do. But I have been trying to think of ways to help them understand what we are all going through. It goes get to be a lot. But I have sunshine. So I am ok. It’s just the rest of ‘em.
On Saturday I attended this wonderful women’s conference put on by our church. They had a couple speakers, the Christensen’s, who have four out of four kids with much more major health problems that our family has faced. They have a show on the Mormon Channel called, “Enduring it Well.” Ok, even as I look this up I noticed the title of their episode is “"The Rain Decsended". Perfect. Now I know you have to see this. Somehow I was able to remain composed during their presentation. I think I knew if I really started crying, I would not have been able to stop.
I asked the husband, W.A. Christensen if he had any suggestions on helping a child through depression and the feelings of major medical things. He is praying and thinking on it. I will let you know what he says…
In the meantime, also at that conference I got three wolf stories. Which is kind of weird because Nathan and Chris love wolves.
So we are going to learn about these this week. I will share with you first.
FIRST WOLF STORY
There was an old Cherokee Indian. One day he relayed to his grandson that he had two wolves inside him fighting. One was despair and anger. The other was hope and love. The grandchild then asked which one will win, “The one you feed”, was his reply.
We are going to talk about how we “feed each wolf” and make sure the white one wins.
SECOND WOLF STORY
Ok this is fun. Get a bag of “building material” for each family member. Things like straws, sticks, cards, marshmallows, etc. But one bag needs Lego's (or similar blocks) including the foundation piece. Have each family member build a “house” while you tell the story “The Three Little Pigs”. You may have to do more or less piggys depending on your family size. The Lego house is the last.
Why didn’t the house fall down? It was connected. Then get out a paper and have each family member say how they are “connected” with Christ and with each other. (put their name by their answer). This will help them and you see how they feel and how they see themselves. It also helps that this house had a foundation. The foundation is Christ. And we will talk about that.
THIRD WOLF STORY
When a wolf is hungry he follows a herd of sheep until he sees one, usually a baby, wonder off. If we don’t want to be taken by the wolf we need to stay close to those that will help us and protect us. How can we do that?
This should prove interesting. I am hoping it helps us as a family deal with the load of burden we have. And thank you again for all the love, support and prayers. It truly means a lot and we get answers to those questions because we have so many of you praying for us.
No, it’s not Avery we are celebrating about. Actually she had a hard last few days. She couldn't get chemo….again. Her platelets are borderline…again. So he wants to see her back on Friday to see if they come up on their own. If not it looks like another fun Saturday in the peds ward getting platelets. I asked Chris if he would take her, but his seven hour visit a few weeks ago turned him off. At least he went once!! And the Dr. wants her to see the GI specialist again. He probably wants to scope her stomach and see why she has to be on Zofran every day. She shouldn’t be nauseas every day still. And her weight isn’t going down, but it isn’t coming back up either. That is concerning. The kid hasn’t grown in some time. At least I don’t need to buy her new shoes or pants, the ones from last year still fit! Not what we really want, but one less thing to buy. Nathan on the other hand keeps growing at a rate I can hardly keep up with. And he wears men sizes. Not cheap!!
The weather here has finally dipped out of the 90’s. It actually feels kind of nice. I can open up the windows in the morning, but by night, I usually flip the air for a few hours. It looks like by next week I can turn it off completely. Looking forward to a much lower power bill. And I have done some cooking. I have some recipes I will FINALLY post in the next few days. I love fall baking and cooking. I am already craving pie and turkey.
And today is our ANNIVERSARY. It’s a biggie….FIFTEEN years. I am fatter and Chris has less hair. We didn’t have any idea the adventure we were about to take. Four kids, nine moves to four states, many jobs, housing market crash, medical issues, and throw in a bit of family drama. But it’s all good. I tried on my wedding dress just to see if it still fits. It does if I suck in hard enough and don’t move…..oh well.
Here are some highlights of the big day….
Chris looks like he is trying to be serious. Really the sun was SUPER bright that day and he was trying to keep his eyes open enough for the pic.
Here is me and all the sisters and my one sister-in-law. WOW, we all look so young.
Here is us and our parents.
And I just love this one. This is of my cute grandpa. Carlos Gardner (my mom’s dad). It was the last time he attended the temple and he passed about just about a year later. We actually spent our first anniversary going to his funeral.
So how was your weekend? Mine was FABULOUS. Avery had a dr. apt on Friday. Her counts were low on Wed. so no chemo. They were borderline, so he wanted to see her back on Friday. We went back and her ANC (white blood counts) were up, that was good, but her Red blood cells were down. Not to a scary level, but enough he felt that she need ANOTHER transfusion. I think we do this about every other week now….
BUT…..I had my hair apt already scheduled. AND….Chris had the day off. So lucky dad got to take her to the hospital. They ended up giving her two bags of blood so they were there a mire seven hours!! Payton (the 7 yr old) had been asking the next time we went to the hospital could she please go? I felt this was the PERFECT opportunity for her to come and see what happens….a lot of nothing. That kind of backfired since they spent most of the day in the playroom doing crafts. Now Payton thinks it would be a good idea to go again….Oh no.
At least my hair is DONE. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! And yes I realize I need to take better pics, but here you go (if you haven’t seen it already). I also got to enjoy the great feast that is also know as General Conference. If you are not LDS, it’s where we listen to the leaders speak on Saturday and Sunday twice a year. It’s such a great time to re-evaluate my life and priorities. Some awesome talks were given.
On another note….
Could you all stop pinning such delicious looking carbs on Pinterest? I am DYING to do some fall baking. All breads and desserts, of course. I am going to be three sizes larger by Christmas if you all don’t stop with the yummy pins. Just kidding…pin away. But honestly, you are killing me. Why do carbs taste so good and yet are so bad for me?? Pinterest, my love/hate relationship.
This week we have Optho on Tues. and then that night Avery’s teacher is coming for tutoring, Oncology on Wed (maybe chemo), our great friends the Hansen’s are coming Wednesday to Satruday, Thursday Chris is going golfing and I am hoping to squeeze in some shopping with Dawn, Nathan has a campout on Friday, Avery has Activity Days on Satruday, we have a progressive dinner for church on Saturday night. Seriously? I feel like I am forgetting something….I may or may not remember it. Anyway, if I don’t post til next week, know why.
OH, and I have the most fabulous dress idea! I get obsessive that way. I may make Dawn help me try to figure it out. Or not. We will see….
I thought my home was coming along pretty well. Until I stepped in that bowling alley of a room the two little girls shared. It was a DISASTER. To say the least. So I stopped going in there….for the most part.
But while my uber talented sister and interior designer was here, I totally picked her brain for ideas. And no, it isn’t done yet. And yes I took this before they got home from school. So we will see what it looks like tomorrow. BUT, everything has a place. And they have room to play and read. And it doesn’t seem so long now. Great suggestions Amy!
This dress up area is a curtain rod I had and Ikea corbels. Then add a mirror and basket, again, things I already had! I do want a sign or some art work in this area… but that will come later.
You can see the darling Ikea light that Amy brought down. I love Ikea (sigh)
I know there is still a ton of white wall space…I’m working on it.
Now you can see the cute bright fun quilts. As long as they make their beds each morning…
And thank you to Dynay for making Avery a hat.
Thank you to all who have contributed time, money and prayers on our behalf. All is greatly appreciated.
Have a great weekend!
Hopefully wifi will be back next week and Avery will be at school. I need to get some things done!
I am trying to remember as we go through out this journey with Avery, that she does have other siblings that need attention.
We had the honor of being one of the cancer kids invited to an event for the Padres Contra El Cancer. Obviously a Hispanic foundation. Most of the guests and celebs where Hispanic, but not all. Avery and Nathan got to walk the red carpet with George Lopez, Eva Longoria, Kerri Walsh, Halston Sage (she’s on Nickelodeon), and Avery’s favorite, Cassie Scerbo (who is on the ABC family Make it or Break it). Avery and Cassie share the same birthday. It was an exciting night. The entertainment was amazing. I loved the food. Avery did not (surprise) . They raised lots of money for a great foundation.
I know the pics are super crappy. I am getting better ones.
But all that being said, it was a great contrast to go to church the next day. And see all the families dressed in regular clothes. No flashing camera. No heavy makeup. Just families there to worship together.
The phrase “No success can compensate for failure in the home,” keeps ringing in my head. I need to focus more on our family and not worry about the other things. That alone is monumental. But I need to keep plugging away. I know I fall short on so many levels (almost all levels). But I need to keep trying and improving. Isn’t that what we are here on this earth to do? To learn and grow. Make mistakes, learn again, grow some more.
When ever I hear someone say, “I am so busy,” not always, but occasionally I would like to
Avery had more chemo last night. She had lost 4 lbs in a week, (wish that were me. But if it means stop eating and drinking, I don’t have the will power for that!) And got an NG tube. And threw up. It’s been awesome. But there are things to look forward to. We have been invited to Gala….this Saturday. I am panicking just a bit. Okay, a lot. No time to shop either. Or make a dress. It will all work out….somehow.
When Amy was here we went to a store and I found the most amazing necklace. It’s sparkly. Super sparkly. And it had iridescent colors of blues to browns. As I was deciding whether to purchase the necklace, I asked Amy why I like shiny things so much. She said because I have more of Hallie in me than I like to admit. True. And just trying taking Hallie to the jewelry section of any store. You will never get out!
So I had to have a place to display my new find. I whipped out the can of green spray paint, the knobs from the last jewelry holder (it wasn’t big enough). And Voila!
I realized I need more earrings!! And that great new necklace is the one on the right. Isn’t it fantastic??
$1,040 - farfetch.com
$895 - suzannah.com
$680 - psyche.co.uk
$260 - houseoffraser.co.uk
$260 - houseoffraser.co.uk
$165 - q-pid.co.uk