Magnanimously homeschooling, worshiping, creating.......

Join us on a journey of faith, healing, learning to live with part of our hearts missing, and recovery, as our family rebuilds our lives, after our son's long battle with cancer....and his eventual rise on eagle's wings into Heaven...victory is his...he is serving the King!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

more dressing up


Here is one of many things I LOVE about homeschooling and why I think I would have loved it as a child. I think the new term for it is dramatic play. This particular afternoon we had lunch and the children scattered to finish their lunch break and when I called them down they had been playing dramatically. A was the damsel needing protection from T, the armed...well I can't remember who he was exactly! Hey, I can't keep track! They continued reading in character.



Hey, Mr. Hero, I thought you were supposed to be reading? Mid afternoon nap time? Ahhh...I will come while you are unawares.


Shiver me timbers!! It was a trick and my plans to steal the damsel have been foiled again!

Friday, January 30, 2009

on dressing up


I loved playing dress up when I was a girl and so it has always been something I encouraged in my children. They seem to be naturals. I always supply items whenever I find them or make them and they take off with their imaginations. The thrift store is a treasure trove of possibilities. It can be something fancy and elaborate or something as simple as a string of twine. They naturally turn whatever is available into a new creations and far fetched adventures. I am going to post some past and future; maybe even as wordless photos. I don't want to forget these memories.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

racketty~packetty house


This book is absolutely adorable! It was a very quick read aloud and went along with our dollhouse theme. Even the boys ended up listening in as it was too interesting and humorous to ignore and you can't beat the excellent attitude of these dolls. Very cute! A must read for doll house imaginations.

waffle night


It's waffle night at the chapel. What fun to pick from a multitude of terrific toppings. Mmmm.


Damsel is being plain Jane tonight.


It is soooo good to see this smiling face back in action. Just look at that plate, not to mention, I love that smile!
After the food we had the privilege to listen to a missionary family from Ecuador tell us all about their life down south. What a blessing that was.








Did I tell you how stylin' this girl is? I love all the cute outfits she puts together. Some are so classical and others just fun and outrageous.









Look who was here. This gal is one sweet lady. She has really ministered to us in dealing with our son's cancer. Her daughter Darcy passed away years ago. Thanks dear friend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

mission organizing: schoolroom, office, library


Do you see how clear this desk is?

My goal now is to keep it this way. I switched this around so that I could have room for a student to come along side of me here or to spread out some papers for writing. Something which I have not enjoyed here for some time. :)

I am officially done enough with this school room/office/ library. There are some tweaks that may need tweaked later and I would love to paint in here some day as well, but for now it is quite functional. I also will need to get some maps on the wall.
I am very pleased and am looking forward to starting in the basement next. Again, no big bucks just dejunking and setting up more user friendly spaces.
See you next time on mission: organizing!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

count down to a cure


PHASE 5: MAINTENANCE


The weather heated up for a moment and Braveheart is feeling better and look; this is his first time out in the snow this year!

We had a great start on 'day 0' of our new phase of therapy and we are very thankful for how far we've come on our journey.

Here's an excerpt from my carepage musings:

As I think about all we have been through, the ups, the downs, the in betweens, it just at this very moment today, having gotten his results and knowing we are going to forge ahead tomorrow, occurred to me what a milestone we have crossed. It causes me to reflect back to the day we almost lost our dear son on the way to the hospital! I remember he started having trouble swallowing as we were driving him there and he couldn't breathe well. How God made it possible that we got there that very day we needed to be there. The doctor even said that. The feeling of complete loss of control as we were told he had a very rare disease with a very low chance for a cure. He was lying on the table and I remember realizing he was dying. How does one explain the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you can’t go backwards and have a ‘do-over’? Some of you DO know. One must be brave and yet, you just want to go outside and scream. Well, needless to say, we were praising God when a few hours later they established that it was actually the t-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. Even so, he was still very ill and had to go to PICU to monitor his airway. (He had partially collapsed lungs) They said it had a high cure rate, but what does that mean to a parent who knows the stage/ advanced amount of disease and reads the numbers and that t-cell is harder to cure etc.? Then, you spend the first 5 or more weeks not knowing if your child is even responding to the chemo at all; if he is even going to live! Watching him so ill and getting that wrenching feeling in your gut. We are thankful for the peace God gave us then, the joy and hope we had when we were finally told that he had responded well with 90% of the cancer gone!! It was still not a full relief until after the second phase was over and a long wait to tell us that remission was finally a reality. That was 4 months later! Let me tell you, these guys give you no false hope. No encouraging words that it is all going to be OK. We got through it all by the grace of God, your prayers, love and friendship. It has been hard sometimes, I won’t lie to you. We have had moments of weakness. Also, we know that feeling in our gut isn’t going away forever….yet, our battle isn’t over and only God knows the outcome for sure, but we are so hopeful and thankful to be looking back on this huge mountain behind us.My mind is baffled when I think of how only God knows if there is a bad cell left in his little body. He knows if that last hospital stay, where he was brought to ‘the door’ and back was needed to make sure every little hidden cell was ‘caught’ and killed. I sometimes wonder; at what moment is the last one gone? Doesn’t that blow your mind? Obviously, we know that it is likely still there and he would relapse without another year and a half of MAINTENANCE therapy. The chemo is working at keeping his body ‘in proper condition’ as defined above, giving a continual dose to hopefully get any new bad cells that try to surface.To clarify for any of you who are new or forgot, Bryce is in remission, which means that none of the cells are visible on the scan. He is not yet CURED and will not be considered so until 5 years out of treatment.
Suddenly, here we are today and it all seems so fresh and new, knowing we are starting phase 5. Although we have been doing fine in our hermit like state while he recovered (he was unable to go very far due to low counts and increased risk for infection) now it is exciting to think of all we/ he can do again. He is anxious to get back to church and hang out more with his friends. It’s very exciting. Yes, looking back we are in awe of how we’ve been given strength through Christ in it all. He isn’t fake, He is real, a REAL HELP in time of need, no matter what the outcome of this trial in our lives. Now we begin this new part of our journey and we are looking forward to what's ahead with joyful anticipation. Thank you for letting me share a piece of our journey that I haven’t really shared with everyone. Thank you for continuing this journey with us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

mission: organizing school room/office


Well, this week starts a fresh beginning of all things organization. I am please with my progress thus far. I am working hard, but not without breaks and realistic pauses...those kids have to eat I guess. :) It seems I can't quite finish one room without having to finish another thing to get the other thing out of the first room! Ugh, see what I mean? I have however, mostly stayed focused on one room at a time. I have gotten rid of bags of clothes to younger kidlets we know and many boxes are going bye bye or to their new home in the house. My goal is to go through and do only what I can do without any major purchases at this time. I can't believe how fast everything can get behind and of coarse families grow and needs change as well which adds to the mess.

The damsel and I finished Anne of Green Gables finally and finished the hundred dresses (very cute book). We will be doing a project with that soon I hope. We are starting a spree of doll house books (you can check our book list, which we will be adding to). When I am done getting through the whole house, we will be able to sew, craft and do projects much more easily and efficiently.

The children are continuing their school work daily. B is starting to get into the groove more after limited work this last 8-9 months due his chemo effects. I am trying to limit my 'projects' with them at this time so I can focus on organizing and they can pitch in as well. Good lesson for them.
I am very excited for Dylan. He has a full day here and does most of his school work on his own without any help from me. He is doing very well getting back into this semester. He is also starting his first college coarse at the local community college. It is a computer class and he will get 3 duel credits; 3 for high school and 3 for college. In addition, he has already earned credits for college using the CLEP exams. I will blog more on that some day soon. He is also working with a man who is an excellent computer repairman that owns his own business and has agreed to take Dylan under his wing to teach him. We have been praying for this type of opportunity for him for some time now and are very thankful.

I am going now to work on this school room/ office which is filled with tedious paper work type stuff that bores me...so pray hard. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

crock pot follies


Does this look as good to you as it does to me? I have to laugh because if you're like me, the men in this house cannot understand why we girls take pictures of our food!!

Anyway, remember that my goal right now is to cook nutritious food that is super easy? Well, here's one of those and no special shopping required. I already had a roast in the fridge thawing and I had a can of black beans and the few ingredients needed to make it BBQish (not from a bottle) and just threw it in the o'l crock, then at dinner I just threw some butter and coconut oil (yes, fat can be good for you) in the pan and fried some burger buns (spelt ones I already had) and tossed this on top! I felt so gourmet and I really wasn't. :) My husband was especially pleased with the grilled bun; he and even Dylan (very picky) thought it was quite good.

Here's what it looked like in the crock.

Mmmmm...I may need to go make that again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

flashback friday

I wanted to use these Fridays to get in some blogging blasts from the past. As I am deep in organinzing the home, I must keep this blog organized as well.
Late last year, Dance Marathon hosted a trip to a museum nearby and we were able to go for a short while. Braveheart (I've decided this is a good blog name for him) tired easily but was in need of a change of scenery. It was a nice family outing. GG (great grandma) and Gramma D came along as well.


Braveheart loves this kind of stuff but is still tired from a hospital stay, but thankfully his counts are up presently and we get to sit most of the short time we're here.

Dad is the resident biologist and assists with the learning.

Yikes, a shark!!

Everyone gets hands on.

And some show off a little......



Thursday, January 15, 2009

count down to a cure


Well I couldn't resist capturing some updated photos of my hero boy after we got home from getting his blood checked today. He was so bright and perky looking with all his blue colors. He was really hamming it up for me. I can't tell you what a joy that is to all of us. You almost can't tell he is a little pale and low on hair here. :)


His counts are still going down so we are hanging close to home in this cold weather, keeping as warm as we can and trying to stuff him full of healthy, strength building food. He is to start phase 5 next week if his counts are up enough which is iffy at this point. We always enjoy as much of a chemo break as we can get and are thankful for his body continuing to restore itself each day thanks to God's amazing design. We are thankful to have him with us and squeeze him and rub his soft fuzzy little head.






Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

thrifty doll house treasure


Check this out!! Damsel girl and I found this little treasure at GW one day. Isn't it cute? But wait until you see the little surprise that came with it!

Isn't that adorable? We couldn't resist after we made that discovery. Dad helped by cutting some carpet squares for the palace...I mean 'home made doll house'. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

# 7 is doll house heaven

Welcome to our girly, girl project! Our very own year of the doll house. I found the most wonderful and inspiring little doll house blog. If you would have asked me before if I would like to do this I would have cringed and thought it sounded horrid, but once I saw how creative and thrifty you can be in the process, I was sold. I showed my darling damsel girl and she was sold beyond words. Who would have thought she would be so hyped up for it? This will be perfect for us now that we have finished the most intense part of her brother's chemotherapy, as I knew that we would need to spend some special time together. I (we) are so excited to begin her 7th year and beyond building fun memories together and bonding our relationship even stronger. We invite you to enjoy our adventure and hope you will join in with your daughter. We have some friends already joining in. It's so much fun! In just the first process we were already engaging in the most wonderful conversations. If you want to spend some real time with your daughter and grab/ keep her heart then this is for you.

(Pro 4:21) Let them not depart from thine eyes; Keep them in the midst of thy heart.

Now if you have boys, don't be afraid, get a shelf or a box and create a boys room or a hunting ground or something cool like that. You can accomplish nearly the same thing or whatever dreams he has.

One of the fun challenges of this project will be in being thrifty and creative in developing it into it's doll house grandness. As you can see we had to do some prep/painting type work but it wasn't that hard, still fun.
We started with an old shelf we found at GW a few months ago. I had been using for shoe storage. It is old but sturdy. You can use any kind of shelf really.

Damsel girl was very diligent with her prepping of the home for paint.



The excitement is building!

Here's two dolls that we discovered we already had that she bought last year. They are very happy to be moving in and start decorating.

Here is the finished product. The kitchen has been painted blue, one room has been wall papered (got that at gw real cheap) and we already had a very cute chair for one of the girls to sit on.

We'll let you know more next time on the doll house adventures!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

tea anyone?


Today we are starting the next book in our Little House Series. We often times have well more than one book going on around here. We have the bedtime read, the school time everybody read, the girly girl read, the boys read, not to mention the others in between and the individual silent reading books!! Whew..that makes me tired just thinking about it. Although, I must add that this last year we have been on the very slow side while we have another life changing family assignment. :) We love our curl up and read aloud time.


A and I decided to surprise the boys with a tea party to go along with our story. She helped me prepare the delights. This is so much fun.


Tea is pretty!


"I am the Tea Princess," she informed me.



Mmmmmm................


Well, I guess the boys weren't as impressed.

This look says it all!!

year in review


It's official...I LOVE BLOGGING!! How goofy is that? It's not that I am any good at it, but it is this easy way to let out some creativity on a near daily basis. Just think of all that would be forgotten by me without it? I love taking pictures and blogging has helped me remember to take pictures more often. Before it was "Wow, I really like that photo, look hun...yeah, cool.." close the book to gather dust and sit on the shelf because I will never have time to actually scrapbook them. (That makes my mind crazy) Now there is a way to showcase it, write about and it fluff it up a bit, not to mention the enjoyment of keeping up with friends/ families lives. I like to have the memories for myself, my family and maybe grandkids someday....you never know.


REVIEW
I think if I were to pick just one word for our last year it would be too hard, but 'survival' comes to mind. It was one of the hardest years of our families lives. "Dependence' is another as we had to really just keep leaning on the Lord for strength and peace and He really came through for us there. I don't know how people get through these major events without Him. "Thankful' for our son's life....our family and receiving so many blessings through it all.

NEW YEAR'S JOURNEY

What's next? I refuse to use just one word, at least for now. One word will have to be 'persevere'.

to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly

to bolster, sustain, or uphold
Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Let us not forget magnanimous, it has been our friend of a word and we must keep at it.

Joyful, is another that calls out to me.


We are excitedly looking forward to this year's journey and all it's joys and bumps in the road. Here is a few of my personal goals:
  • get with God and pray for my husband, kids and others daily, continued spiritual growth

  • get the home super, mega organized


  • recommit to eating healthy, life sustaining, cancer healing, weight losing foods


  • work on and enjoy girly girl project with my damsel all year long and more


  • drink green tea often


  • get back to exersizing routinely like I used to (and better yet)

  • eat these highly nutrient dense foods in our regular food rotation often (salmon~ almonds~blueberries~avacodos)



I didn't really want to get too detailed here. I am also going to start Wordless Weds just to have a fun, quiet way to showcase a favorite unique photo. I have a few other ideas/ plans but I am just going to have fun and PERSEVERE!! and maybe while I'm at it i won't be quite so behind on everything....:)

Monday, January 5, 2009

countdown to cancer cure

Phase 4 is over!!

I couldn't go without officially entering this major milestone here in my blog. We have finally finished 8 1/2 months of intense chemotherapy for our 11 year old son, with many ups and downs along the journey. We have experienced many different emotions including fear, relief, joyous celebration, thankfulness and so much more. Sometimes it is still so surreal, this part of our journey, however, God has continued to give us strength throughout it all.
I will strengthen thee. (Isaiah 41:10)
We are now going to enjoy a few weeks off with our boy. His counts have gone down and he had a red blood cell and platelet transfusion on Friday, but even so he his recovering well. They will continue to go down this week and hopefully just go up from there. He is in good spirits and getting more pep in his step every day. He is eating more too. It is so refreshing to see him eating lots of food all day long again.
See that smile up there?? That is B in a nut shell....he is happiness personified. I love that photos and how it captures his naturally happy heart, even with much of his hair fallen out. He laughs and giggles at night and most of the day again. Last night we were all snuggled in and visiting and I heard him say..."I love bedtime." It was so cute. I think it has always been a snugly, family time for all of us. I am sure glad to have those smiles back after some hard times where he just wasn't able to produce them very frequently or with his usual easy gusto. We are so thankful to have him home and on the road to a cure!!
Thank you Lord!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

lost another baby tooth

We lost another baby tooth today!!


Father/ Daughter

cozy crazy crocheted blanket/hat


As many of you are aware, I started a crazy crochet blanket while in the hospital with B. Thanks to all of you who donated some yarn. It gave my hands something to do while there, plus I love crafting and I was able to finish it over the Christmas break. I decided to make this one for Dylan since he is the oldest and therefore the closest to getting his wings for flying out of the nest. Can you believe that? He only has a year and a half of school left with me!! Well, that's another blog page.
Then, after the blanket got too big for taking to the hospital, I thought I would try a simple hat. Mental note to self: It turns out really huge though when you switch to thick, soft yarn. He loved it anyway. I am especially grateful for how excited he was that I was making it for him and he does love to wear it. That really blesses my heart. He even told me that if I ever wanted to crochet, I could make him a hat any time! It was fun.


So fun, that I made a not so thick one for Casey for Christmas.


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Why MAGNANIMOUS?

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:
MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.