Week # 17 of LTM
We had a really nice day today; lots of fun things to do on this Sunday afternoon. Blaine, still basking in the sweetness of the OU victory last night, agreed to take us out to breakfast this morning before heading to Atlanta to spend the day. It was the first time in a long time we have been to IHOP. After eating there once a week (or more!) during Kendrie’s more intensive-phases of treatment, we hadn’t been back for several months. I had forgotten just how darn good those chocolate-chip pancakes really are! Except for a brief ugly stint when Kendrie’s hot-chocolate arrived with whipped cream, chocolate chips and a cherry on top -- which she refused to touch, what kind of freak is she??? -- it was a nice breakfast out for all of us. (Especially Kellen, who was the lucky recipient of the afore-mentioned hot-chocolate paraphernalia.)
Then, our first stop for the day was the Festival of Trees in Atlanta. This annual event raises funds for Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, so not only did we get to enjoy the numerous, amazing, beautiful tree and wreath displays, and ride the small carnival rides, and stare enviously at the kids making crafts because their parents were smart enough to buy enough tickets for those lucky kids to get to do everything they wanted unlike some other unlucky kids whose parents only bought enough tickets for two measly rides which everyone knows isn’t enough ……. Oh, sorry, I digress. Anyway, it is also a fundraiser for the hospital which has treated Kendrie for her leukemia, so it was easy to spend our money there and feel good about it. If you’re local to Atlanta, you really should check it out! Here’s a family picture of us today:
And yes, if you look closely enough, my children have blue teeth, thanks to the blueberry slushies they drank right before this photo. Classy, huh?
And in case you read my journal entry from last night, *here* is what a REAL gingerbread house is supposed to look like!
Then, it was off to the Lighthouse Annual Christmas Party, also held in Atlanta. (Hey, you might as well make the most of a drive up, right?) It was a nice set up, and so good to see friends we have met along the way ... we were talking, playing, laughing …… and then I glanced over at Kendrie:
So, what is she …. Auditioning for the part of Grumpy in the new Snow White movie? I mean, overall today she was ok, but for a brief period, I started to think I should have dressed her in a sandwich board that read “Please excuse my rudeness …. I’m taking Decadron.” At least that way I wouldn’t have had to apologize in advance for her refusing to talk to anyone at the party!
Oh well, I suppose hiding your head in your mom’s leg and averting your eyes whenever an adult (especially the hosts of the party!) tries to speak to you (and crying when that person is Santa) is better than a full-blown tantrum, so I won’t spend too much time complaining.
We really enjoyed ourselves, though. Brayden and Kellen, on the other hand, were willing to spend a few moments talking with Santa. What I really love about this photo below is that even at the ripe old ages of six and seven …. THEY …. STILL …. BELIEVE! I always think every year will be the last, and some kid at school will spill the beans, but for now, they are total believers. I just love it.
Besides Santa, and the candy and cookies on the tables that Kendrie hoarded, there was a reading of The Christmas Story with the kids in costume. Kellen was drafted to be a Wise Man. That, or it’s the world’s worst Princess Leah imitation. Ever.
And best of all we got to see several of our Lighthouse Friends. It’s been said on lots of these CB sites …. This club is one that none of us ever thought we would join. Or wanted to. But now that we’re here, one of the benefits, and things that make this cancer experience more bearable, are the wonderful families we meet and are lucky enough to consider friends. It’s a little bit like the Martha Stewart experience; she’s probably NEVER going to be happy she went to jail. But if she and that chick she’s sharing a cell with get to be friends, and maybe even win the Christmas-cell-decorating contest, then that makes it a bit more endurable!
And then to cap off the evening, we got to have dinner with our friends Catie, her mom Jenny and her Aunt Nikki. The party was fun, but lots of people, lots of noise …. lots of hoodlum kids running around on sugar highs (well, there were at least **THREE** I can think of … can you guess who???) so sitting down to dinner afterwards and actually getting to carry on a conversation was a really nice way to end the day.
Jenny, Kendrie, Catie and Brayden enjoy some after-dinner bonding.
I'd like to think these two have a special connection ... at the very least, I know Kendrie adores Catie!
Thanks to those of you who gave me the reassurance in the guestbook that I’m actually NOT big enough to play in the NFL, ha! Hunter's mom Katie, telling me Hunter's comments about her pregnant tummy, actually reminded me of a joke I like:
Young daughter: “Mom, why is your tummy so fat?”
Mom: “Well, you know Jesus is giving you a baby brother and I’m growing him in my stomach”
Young daughter: “Oh. Well, what are you growing in your butt?”
Ha! That joke has always cracked me up. And for Debbie, who asked in the guestbook what TSO stands for, it’s short for Trans-Siberian Orchestra. And don’t even think you’re un-hip … who else was hip enough to give Kendrie a baseball bracelet?? As far as she was concerned, that pushed you to the pinnacle of hip-ness. (Hip-dom?)
Speaking of TSO, hope you all enjoy today’s song. The female singer in it just blows me away. One of my all-time favorite fantasies would be to have a voice this amazing, and go into a local karoke bar. Listen for a while, to all the drunkards singing their renditions of “Summer Nights” from Grease (well, that’s what *I* usually sing whenever I’m in a karoke bar!) and then get up, all casual like, and just blow everyone away with my unbelievable talent. Instead, the last time I was in a karoke bar, I sang “What’s Going On” by Four Non-Blondes and my girlfriend Kim laughed so hard she had to get up and leave the room. Not that I have a complex about it or anything.
Hope you all had a great weekend! Thanks for all the nice notes in the guestbook; we really enjoy hearing from all of you!
WORST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY:
Hands down, when my mom tried to push me onstage to sit on Santa’s lap with Kellen and Brayden. Oh, no, buddy, I wasn’t having ANY of that! There is no gift on earth I need *that* bad!
BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY:
Seeing my friends Madie and Ryan and Brandon and Will and Jake and Catie and Mitch and Justin and Jack and all the other kids. We might all have had the bad luck to get cancer, but you get this group in a room and you’d never know it! Talk about a good time, woo hoo! (Well, when my head wasn’t buried in anyone’s leg, that is.)