Wednesday, December 07, 2005


8 Days to Go!!!

My gosh, I’m starting to feel like Dick Clark on New Years Eve …. Will the damn ball EVER drop?!?!? Just kidding, these days are passing by very quickly and while there have been times during the past two years I thought we would NEVER get here, I’m sure next Thursday night, our personal Times Square Celebration will be here before we know it. :)

Just a few comments from the guestbook I want to address:

**All these songs have been from the TSO CD “The Lost Christmas Eve”. They have several other really great Christmas CD’s that I’m too lazy to walk out to my car and retrieve, so for now, everything is coming off that one album that I happen to have here in the computer room.

**Yes, the “okc” in Kristieokc stands for Oklahoma City. That’s where I was born and raised and lived for twenty happy years until my military husband ripped me from the bosom of my family. Whatever. I’m not bitter, just eager to return home when he retires.

**Yes, we would be happy to give out our personal address if you would like to send Kendrie a congratulations card for finishing treatment …. I just have a “thing” about putting it out there on the web, so please e-mail me privately (address at the bottom of this site) and I’m happy to give it to you in a return e-mail. Burglars and axe-murderers need not apply.

**My camera is a Canon Digital Rebel …. I think the good photos have less to do with photographer talent and willing subjects and more to do with an expensive telephoto lens and high-quality photo-editing software!! Now, if I could just figure out how to erase my double chin and big butt, I’d be in business.....

**I didn’t want to make anyone else feel guilty about the fact I am done shopping, wrapping and all the gifts are already under the tree, so today’s photo was taken in front of the small tree in Kendrie’s room -- no presents at all. Yes, I am a freak …. We have five decorated Christmas trees in our house, and no, we don't live in a mansion. Blaine is grumbling that it's starting to look like a rain forest in here. If it makes you feel any better, those of you who haven’t yet shopped or wrapped or decorated, I am a stay-at-home mom who rudely turned down the request to volunteer at the Secret Santa Workshop this week at school, so I could get all that stuff finished. Hey, my family is coming here from Oklahoma for Kendrie’s Off-Treatment party and an early Christmas, so I had pressure to finish!!

**In case you noticed, or didn't notice, no, Blaine himself was not listed as one of my "Nine Things I am Grateful For" items. In case you're not sure why, let me give you this little example: After reading my update yesterday, and reading the paragraph (which was intended to be humorous) about living in the backwoods and making our own butter and furniture and living without electricity or any contact with the outside world, he looked over at me and said, "What would be so bad about that?" And He. Was. Serious!!! Does that tell you the kind of man I am married to????

Again, thanks to all of you for the kind, enthusiastic messages in the guestbook. It is hard to believe we could be any more excited about this milestone, but your notes to our family have made it, if possible, even more special. And now, on to today’s list:

EIGHT BLISSFUL MOMENTS --- I hope it goes without saying that we’ve had more than eight moments that have made us happy in the last twenty-six months. I’m pretty sure I’d have to turn in my parenting license if I couldn’t find happiness, or provide happiness for my family, more often than that.

But these are photos taken during treatment that for one reason or another, really touched my heart. Some of these events took place *because* of cancer, some of them took place *in spite* of it. I seriously doubt that Geocities will be able to support ten photos in one journal entry (despite the fact they accidentally charged my credit card a $500.00 fee last month; it’s supposed to be $5.00!) so if you come to the site and see little red x’s instead of pictures, please check back again later. They reset the bandwidth every hour. Or something technical like that.

Photo #1:

Photo taken during her first week in the hospital after diagnosis, Oct 2003. Notice the bruises on the back of her hands from all the needle sticks??? Kendrie turned from a happy, laughing, bubbly child to a sullen, withdrawn, distrusting little girl in a matter of days. It broke my heart to see her so suspicious of every adult that had suddenly come into her life, and on this day, when I was able to simply color with her, and joke with her, and get her to smile for the first time …. it meant a lot to me to see her being silly again, even if just for a moment.

Photo Group #2:

Pictures taken Dec, 2003. The kids were out of school for the Christmas holiday and we took them with us to Atlanta for one of Kendrie’s appointments. This was the beginning of treatment, when we were often driving to clinic once or twice a week for chemo in one form or another. It was an unseasonably warm day and we spent the afternoon playing in a local park. The sun was shining, all three kids were laughing and having fun, after two months of turmoil and upheaval and confusion, and on this afternoon, I started to allow myself to nurse the very small flame, buried deep in my soul, that our family might just possibly come through this ordeal intact.

Photo #3:

The very end of December, 2003, Blaine had what is called a “Pinning On Ceremony” on base. (Another name for a promotion ceremony …. and by promotion, I mean bringing home slightly more money that we had to spend on Kendrie’s unbelievable, non-stop steroid cravings!) It was one of the first times our family had ventured out into public in such a social manner, and for one brief afternoon, for what felt like the first time since diagnosis, the spotlight was on something POSITIVE that was happening for our family. It was a really great feeling.

Photo #4:

a.) Neil Armstrong taking the first steps on the moon.

b.) Jonas Salk inventing the vaccine for polio.

c.) The discovery of penicillin.

d.) The Wright Brothers taking flight for the very first time.

Yes, all these things were amazing, inspiring, and did much to benefit the advancement of the human race. But we had an event of such unbelievable magnitude take place here this week that I believe the history books will have to be re-written to include this earth-shattering incident. My palms were sweaty; my heart soared ….. are you ready to share in the mind-blowing, wonderful news?


Really, have you ever seen a more self-satisfied look? (Photo and journaling, June 2004)

Photo #5:

I know, I know, I’ve used this picture of Kendrie to death and you are all sick of seeing it --- but I just love it! We were attending our first-ever family Lighthouse Retreat in Florida, July of 2004. It was fabulous to see my kids enjoying themselves on the beach, escaping the cancer-routine for a week, and for the opportunity to make friends with other families going through some of the same trials as we were. I’d much rather have met them all at some community get-together, like a big ol’ pig roast with wet-naps and huge vats of cold beer, but I’m grateful for these families just the same. And I will always love this picture of Kendrie, embracing life.

Photo #6:

After being pulled out of pre-school the year before when she got sick, and being forced to spend an entire school year at home with boring old Mom, watching movies, reading books, and doing puzzle after puzzle after countless puzzle (my God if I never see another Clifford puzzle it will be too soon!) I don’t think this child could have been any happier about starting her first year of public school in Pre-K-4. How can you NOT be happy for a kid who looks this thrilled???? August 2004

Photo #7:

One of the few (and if you were following along in my journal entries back then, you will remember that I mean VERY FEW) happy moments on our Make-A-Wish trip. This hour spent in Curious George’s Water Play Area was one of the best hours of the entire trip. In hindsight, I guess we should have just spent the whole six days right there, stealing dry towels from unsuspecting tourists and having the Corn Dog and Dippin' Dots guys deliver to us.

Photo Group #8:

Kendrie talked about playing t-ball, dreamed about playing t-ball, strategized her t-ball career, and couldn’t wait to get out there with the other kids. I was never so proud in all my life as her first time at bat … seeing the sheer joy on her face to be taking part in an activity she loves and had so looked forward to, for months and months and months.

Then, there were other moments when we really weren’t quite as proud of her skills.

There's another photo I just love of Kendrie going off the slide at our friend Ms. Renee's house this past summer that I would like very much to share with you --- the goggles on her eyes and the smile on her face is simply priceless. But you know my tom-boy girl.... she was swimming in her brother's swim trunks and no top, and I'm pretty sure if I put that on this site, the Internet Porn Police will be after me straightaway .... So, that’s it for today …. Eight Blissful Moments, brought to you (hopefully!) by my web server. Thanks again for checking in,

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