Monday, February 14, 2005

Our Weekend Trip to Atlanta

(aka… How many tantrums can one small child throw in a 12-hour period?)

(aka… Did somebody put her on steroids and not tell us??)

304 Days to Go

What’s great about our cancer journey? The friendships we have made, and are continuing to make, along the way.

What’s *really* great about our cancer journey? When these new friends invite us into their homes and into their lives and we get to spend quality time together as families.

What stinks about our cancer journey? Well, the fact that we’re on it to begin with is kind of stinky.

What *really* stinks about our cancer journey? When the aforementioned quality time, with the aforementioned new friends, is tainted by the presence of a child who acts so ugly you worry your first invitation to Atlanta will also be your last.

Mike, Kristin, Ryan and Brandon …. Let me APOLOGIZE up-front for the way our weekend, wonderful in every other way, ended on Sunday with the appearance of the 8th dwarf; "Crabby"!!

We had a really nice time this weekend on our trip to Atlanta, with the exception of when Satan showed up and possessed our youngest daughter. We had received an invitation to a special showing of the Big Apple Circus at Stone Mountain in Atlanta from Camp Sunshine, but what made it even more special was the invitation we received to drive up the day before and spend the night with Brandon’s family, the Connors. If you’ve never visited Brandon’s site, you should do so for two reasons. Well, okay, three reasons. First of all, he’s just darn cute. Second, the story of his neuroblastoma diagnosis and cure is truly proof of a modern-day miracle and sometimes you just need a reminder that good things do happen. Third, his mom Kristin is doing an amazing job in her position at CureSearch to raise funds and awareness to find a cure for **ALL** childhood cancers. I focus primarily in this journal on leukemia because that is the cancer that has so affected our life. But there are, sadly, so many other cancers out there and CureSearch, and the people like Kristin who work there, are making a difference. Kristin, you rock!

But I digress. We showed up at the Connors and the kids were thrilled to see Ryan and Brandon. The best part of the afternoon was feeding the geese in the pond across the street. The lighting was really nice, so you’ll have to excuse me while I subject you to a visual of some of the photos we took. Most of the photos were of the backs of the kids’ heads, as they ran away from me, chasing the geese. But I did get a couple of cute ones.

The kids being silly, l-r, Kendrie, Ryan, Kellen and Brayden

Oh, wait, now THIS is being silly!

Hey, everybody needs a lift sometimes, right?

Then, the evening got even better when CampJack and his crew joined us for dinner. Jen and Stephanie, we’ve been following Jack’s site for months and we really enjoyed getting to visit with you guys! Your kids are so adorable and I want to thank you for humoring Kendrie and her obsession with Baby Kate.

L-R, CampJack, Brayden, Brandon, Ryan, and Kellen, with Kendrie doing some weird lounge-pose on the top of the sofa ... who knows?

The evening was topped off perfectly with birthday cake for Brayden, who turned eight this weekend! (Let’s not even go into the rhetorical “where has the time gone” issue; I feel old enough as it is.)

So, a nice afternoon, a nice evening …….. then just what exactly went wrong?

We woke up the next morning and everyone *seemed* fine ….. but we got our first glimpse of Little Miss Uncooperative at breakfast. Despite the yummy, hot pancakes and fresh fruit that Kristin was serving, Kendrie insisted on eating all of their go-gurt out of the fridge. Literally, all of it. Like five packages. Kristin, I’ll send a replacement box soon!

Still, that wasn’t too terribly bad (more embarrassing than anything, actually.) Then, we went upstairs to get dressed for the circus and ……. Brace yourselves …….. I had packed the dreaded thermal shirt with flowers on it and pink boots for Kendrie. (GASP! --- THE AUDACITY OF MOM!!) Nope, she wasn’t wearing it, no how, no way. And she let us know her displeasure both vocally and with body language and facial expressions. “Pouting” doesn’t begin to cover it.

Truly, I wouldn’t have cared if she had worn the same sweatshirt as the day before, but we had already packed up the suitcase and carried it out to the car, so what started as a simple wardrobe malfunction turned into a classic power struggle between parent and child. With higher stakes, since it was happening in someone else’s home. Actually, that should let Kristin and Mike know how much we like them and how comfortable we felt in their home, since we didn’t just automatically give in. (Or is that my lame justification for allowing Kendrie’s streak of obnoxiousness to continue that morning?? “Hey, Mike, Kristin, we like you so much and are so happy to be guests in your home that we’re going to let our daughter throw a complete temper tantrum for your viewing pleasure!!!”)

So, despite our promise (threat? Same thing?) that she wouldn’t be allowed out of the van if she didn’t get dressed, it was off to the circus we went, with Kendrie in her pajamas. When we arrived, I took Brayden and Kellen inside and told Kendrie she could just sit out in the car until she was ready to get dressed. I’m not quite sure what happened, but about half an hour later she showed up ringside with Blaine ………. wearing the dirty clothes from the day before. So technically, I think she might have won that one.

The circus was a good one, I thought. It was small, a one-ring affair, but it was nice that every seat in the tent was extremely close to the action (a little too close, for some of those people on the other side of the ring during the horse show, if you know what I mean when horses aren’t wearing those little diaper bags.) Many thanks to Camp Sunshine for inviting us as guests and hosting this special event for all the campers and their families. We saw several families from previous Family Weekends, and even two families from my online group; Jacob and Madie.

L-R, Jordan (Jacob's older sister), Madie, Kendrie, CampJack, and Jacob. Notice Kendrie is in the same shirt as the day before .... and you thought I was joking in my previous journal entry when I said people must assume we can't afford new clothes for our children because she wears the same thing over and over and over?!?!

The only downfall to the circus was when some lady asked me as we were leaving … not once, not twice (because I was unsuccessfully ignoring her) but THREE times, “When is your baby due?” Thank you, Jacob’s mom Tiffany, for pretending you didn’t hear that.

Then, I don’t know if it was delayed sugar shock from the cotton candy, or if Jacob slipped Kendrie some of the meds from his steroid pulse this week, but after the show … wow, did it get ugly. (What does that say? Jacob was on steroids and he STILL acted nicer than Kendrie did!)

First, we had a chance to meet Chandler Booth’s family, about whom we have heard so many nice things. Chandlers’ mom had brought sucker-treats for all the kids (thank you, Kim!) and I let Brayden choose hers first since it was her birthday. I had one red, one blue and one green. Easy enough, since blue is Kendrie’s favorite color. Always has been. She ALWAYS picks blue. So Brayden picked red. Big mistake. Then, I announced it was Kellen’s turn to select the movie for the ride home. (It really, truly was. I keep pretty close tabs on that, and even use a calendar to keep track on occasion.) Kendrie wanted to watch “Extreme Primate”. Kellen selected “Spirit”. Big mistake.

It took us so long to get out of the parking lot that people were driving by, assuming we were having car trouble. Then they heard the screaming and just kept on driving. I was still annoyed from the pregnancy comment and quite frankly, had had just about enough from Little Miss Sunshine.

Thankfully, after a few short but painful miles, she focused her energies on pouting out the window, which while ugly to look at, doesn’t bother my ears near as much. So we made it home safe and sound and in one piece. Lucky for her.

The weekend ended on a sad note, when we discovered one of the boys on our list-serve has relapsed. Our thoughts are going out to Victor and his family. Victor had just finished his ALL treatment protocol in October and had recently had surgery to have his port taken out. Now, today, he was back in surgery having a new port put back in, the first step for him as his battle starts all over again. Please keep Victor in your thoughts and if you have a moment, stop by his guestbook and let him know you are rooting for him. He conquered leukemia once …. Let’s cheer him on as he prepares to do it again.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great week, and that you had a Happy Valentines Day!



My dad has that icky stomach bug that is going around and my mom was a complete freak about me not getting too close to him.


It was MY day to pull a link off of our Disney chain in the kitchen. Hey, wait, did I mention to you that we are leaving for Disney in just six days??? Woo-hoo!

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