Sunday, September 27, 2009

Eye lashes, eye catching and I

See my new eyelashes!
Noble, Selena the German exchange student, Manny and Maggie for homecoming.

Emma roasting a marshmallow.

Me holding Hallie and Dane getting in a cheezy grin.

Alyssa and Dan while we are camping.

Tanner enjoying a s'more.

Connie relaxing.

Shay roasting marshmallows.

Well Devree is growing hair everywhere except on top of her head. She is getting nice thick eyelashes. Her eyebrows are coming back slowly, hair on her arms and legs. But she still just has blonde fuzz on top of her head. On Thursday at the high school you were supposed to dress up like your hero and Devree wanted to be President Monson, the prophet and leader of our church. We looked at his picture and did the thinning on top and heavy around the ears and neck with 2 shades of eyeliner. She wore a white shirt, tie and suit coat of Todd's. She then didn't go to school because she hasn't been feeling well. There were over 150 students and staff out at DHS and Devree said there was a girl behind her in Spanish class that was spewing germs on her. We even know a girl in the other ward that got the swine flu but immediately went to the doctor and got some medication for it. Next Saturday we will be giving the whole family flu shots to help keep Devree safe. When the swine flu vaccine comes out we will all get that too.

Devree did see the doctor and found out she is up to 113 lbs. which means she is gaining weight since St. Jude's. She got some anti-biotics to help her with her cold. I think she has been overwhelmed and feeling a little depressed too. She will see the school psychologist soon to determine if she is clinically depressed. As a Mom I am worried that Devree may have to fight depression the rest of her life because of all of the things that have affected her brain. She continues to do well in school.

Noble had homecoming this last week and decided to ask the German foreign exchange student to the dance. He was so thrilled that she said yes. He doesn't have a suit but the girls made boutinere's for the double dating. Manny asked the girl in the band, that they know, who is hosting the exchange student and so they took them to dinner and then the dance. Noble said he tried to slow dance with her like the stake dance allows and she hugged him tighter! LOL

We went camping for one night and back in time to the Relief Society General meeting. That was an awesome meeting and dinner.

Today was the first day of my new calling as Primary Pianist and I had a terrible stomach ache and sweat bullets with the stress of it all. I know each time it will get better, but I was mostly one fingering it to get through. Thank goodness, Paula Huesser is going to play for the primary program coming up 2 weeks after General Conference. Even though I feel like I am turning so old at my next birthday, I guess an old dog can learn new tricks!!!!

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Busy Saturday!

Well this last week has been so busy I almost wished I was back in Memphis! They called me in to substitute all week and I kept getting more and more behind. All of you working Mom's out there, I feel sorry for you because I felt I didn't do much right all week and felt very stressed too!

This last week Devree started her Occupational Therapy and Physical therapy. The two people she works with are amazed at Devree's tenacity. I love to see her face screw up in concentration as she tries to put those little pegs with the spacer and then the washer on in the peg board. We are talking tiny ones. Or try to stand up from a chair without using her hands and to switch to a different chair of a different height and keep going. She says she still misses Courtney and Lara at St. Jude that were her therapists.

Todd and I were able to go to the temple last night. It has been a very long time since we have been able to go so that was a choice experience. We met two other couples from our ward there. When we go to Reno we like to shop at this discount grocery store and by the time we stocked up, we got home at 11pm. Noble was home from his football game and told us all about it. Dayton won so life is good. HA! HA! By the time all of the groceries were put away, I collapsed into bed after substituting First graders all week.

Dane was invited to a sleep over last night and therefore I had to pick him up after 8am to get him to his game on time. Noble had packed his soccer stuff since I ran out to go to the temple. When Dane got dressed, he didn't have soccer socks. Todd met us at the soccer field with Shay and Devree. Shay had a game after Dane. I left Todd there with the boys and Devree and I went to Dayton
Valley Days. We saw lots of friends there and checked out all of the booths. We met a lady that had a hat on with a bandana and I could tell that she was a cancer victim too. I said "Hey Devree and you have something in common. Devree whipped off her "Hope" hat with the little attached pony tail and the lady said "Yes!" Then the lady whipped off her hat and bandana. They both laughed as they looked at each other's bald heads. She is battling breast cancer. We had a nice chat.

Devree found a perfect gift for her friend Leah at one of the booths. Leah has been her friend since Kindergarten. Leah was this little 5 year-old girl that moved into our neighborhood and came knocking on our door. She said "Hi! I heard you have kids and I'm looking for someone to play with." Leah ended up in the same kindergarten class with Devree and they have been friends every since.

Noble and the band did awesome marching in the parade. Mrs. Bumgartner, the band teacher, was in charge of the parade so she made it a wonderful marching experience by being ahead of the horse... poop and all of the classic cars...exhaust. There were 82 cars so several of the band members remarked about the better experience.

Devree and I came home first to a quiet lunch, just the two of us. Devree remarked that it reminded her of the Target House. We love being home but sometimes we miss the quiet especially with 2 rambunctious boys. Life is great and we love being home. Missing all of you that are 2,000 miles away.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dane's Baptism Day

Devree Practicing "How Firm a Foundation" with cousins, for Dane's Baptism

Dane and Dad at Baptism.

Dane Before his Baptism

Hamblin Family

Hamblin Family and Noble's Friend Manny Behind Devree

Shay & Dane at Indoor Mall Ferris Wheel

Dane has already been baptized for over a week. I did get my 2 boxes of pears done and Todd helped me on the last batch of 7 quarts. I am telling you that if I don't peel and can another pear for YEARS,... it will be too soon. So out of 2 boxes of pears we got 21 quarts and we still have eaten many and have a whole fridge drawer full. It took me about 2 hours for each batch of 7 quarts to peel etc.

So last Saturday our family left early to take pictures etc. of Dane's baptism. We got Dane in his baptism clothes and took pictures. There was a convert baptism at 6 pm and Dane and Megan's baptism was at 7pm. We had the baptism in the chapel and the chapel was pretty full with all of the Clark family and the Hamblin family and friends and many families from the ward came and supported us. We even had some dear friends (the Brazells) that came from Fernley and joined us for the baptism. It was a much better turnout for Dane than for Noble where nobody was there except my parents and Ky and his family. No ward members came to support it.

Shay gave the opening prayer and all of the cousins sang "How Firm a Foundation" They had practiced and it sounded great when they sang the last verse a cheppella. Kolten was the pianest for their song.

Megans Grandmother gave the baptism talk and then we went in to the font. Ladies first and Megan was baptized without a hitch. We had forgotten to get witnesses and hurridly called up Ky and Noble. Todd had forgotten to review the baptismal prayer. So he said the wrong prayer and Dane had to be baptized again. When Dane comes up the second time, he is wiping the water off his face and asks very loudly "Dad did you get it right this time?

Noble gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and Megan had a grandfather give the closing prayer.

The next day at Fast and Testimony it was a glorious meeting with many Hamblins bearing their testimonies. It was the first time I got to see Shay pass the sacrament. I was very touched as a Mom to see my youngest son get baptized and my second son pass the sacrament while the oldest son blessed it. It was Devree and I's first Sunday back and what a wonderful reunion to be reunited with the ward that fasted and prayed for Devree. I feel truly blessed to be in a ward that shows overwhelming love and concern for our family and our challenges. This Sunday was great to see even more of our supporters that were gone for Labor Day.

Yes Life is busy and it is wonderful. I feel so blessed. Dane said that he missed his cousins and then asked "Why don't we just move to Memphis?" I told him wouldn't he miss his friends here? He considered that and then said "But we won't get to see them (Germantown cousins) for a long time!" That is my sentiments exactly.

Friday, September 11, 2009

No one can break our stride!

This is some of our ward family that came to Sand Harbor at Lake Tahoe. This is Emma O'Barr and Ada Johnson. Emma made "Devree" out of rocks in the sand if you look closely.
It was quite shady when we arrived at Lake Tahoe so my parents were bundled in blankets. They are accompanied by Glen Larsen, a mentor of Todd's.

Aunt Jan and Uncle Brownie came from Burley, ID just to celebrate with us.

Devree sitting with her cousins Megan and Teara trying to get a tan. Devree did eventually lie down with some help. Everyone else got a little sun burned on places missed by sun screen. But Devree didn't even look like she was in the sun all day.
These are some other families that came from Dayton Ward. Lisa Voightleander in the back. Emily Larkin holding Noah on her lap and Kendra Johnson holding Rees, or Seth. I can't tell with the hat on.

Tis is Noble with cousins Kolten and Chelsey in the back. His good buddy Manny came and helped us with all of the setting up we had to do.

This is most of the O'Barr family. Connie is holding baby Hallie, Dan behind Alyssa and Tanner. We are missing Aubrey and Emma O'Barr

My brother Ky and my sister-in-law Tammie. People at church thought Tammie is my sister and we really are!

This is Chris, Tricia and Cindy Brown who came from Burley, ID too.

What can I say . . . Devree is doing awesome and loving it! She has gone back to school and is doing well in her classes. She hardly brings home homework except for geometry which is the last class of the day and she has all of her classes everyday so she can't get that homework done at school. She loves her drama class and she did a couple of improvisations in class and everyone was laughing. At one improv she was given the assignment of arguing with friends about who is the trend setter and one of the friends said "Well what if I shave my head tomorrow?" Devree whipped off her wig and said "Well I already did, so you would be following me!" Then in one of her classes she was scratching her head and one boy was astounded that she wore a wig and he was in her Spanish class where they were talking about hair color. Devree asked the teacher "How do you say 'bald' in Spanish. The teacher replied "Calvo".
I will put more pictures on tomorrow and will tell you all about the baptism. I am off to can 2 boxes of pears right after Dane and I ride our bikes to school. Tanner is coming over and we got a long bike ride, but it will be good exercise for me and for Dane. I stepped on the scale and saw that I have gained 5 lbs in the last 8 months!
I have just about finished cleaning out all of my cupboards and drawers and going through all of the "bachelor" piles that Todd did while I was gone. I have been in a fall cleaning mode and want to get rid of and simplify life. I want clean lines and organization to surround me! But I am jumping in with both feet at all of the things we are involved in.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Devree Enters Life Again

It is so wonderful to have our girls home!!! We picked them up at the airport at 8:00 PM (10:00 PM -Memphis Time). They gave us all hugs and kisses and we headed for home. Our trip home was a joyous reunion. Shana and I had tons to talk about and I could hear Noble telling Devree stories and making her laugh.

Devree is like a whole new girl!!! Her new wig and Jeans are very cute. She has lots of energy, and can get around pretty good. I also see a noticeable improvement in her ability to tie her shoes and such. When I was with Devree during round 3 of chemo, she couldn’t write or manipulate the buttons on her shirt very well (Those are examples of the things that have improved).

Although Devree got in bed at 10:30 pm Memphis time, she got up to get ready for seminary at 5:00 am the next morning. Shana and Devree then went to talk to the high school about attending for 1/2 days at first. The school said that Devree would need to attend full days or enroll in a home school program. Devree decided to go for full days. So now Devree has 5 full days of school under her belt.

Note: Devree has been so active that she has about worn out the tennis balls on the feet of her walker. :-)

We were intending to write this last weekend, but we were having too much fun with all of our family that came to visit. Dane’s baptism with Megan Clark was wonderful!!! Our fun day at Lake Tahoe’s Sand Harbor beach was a lot of fun. Shana kept telling me, “This is wonderful! Everything is exactly how I envisioned it.”

What a wonderful feeling to reunite and be with all the friends and family that love you so much!!! Monday was a vacation day for me (Todd), so we were playing on Monday and saying goodbye to our extended family that came to visit. Ky & Tammie came with their family and Aunt Jan and Uncle Brownie came with their family. It was a heavenly weekend.

Tonight Noble is having his Eagle Board of Review. This is a first for our family and we are excited. Noble tells us that he isn’t nervous because "the hard part" was all the work that lead up to this day.

The Hamblin Family is so very thankful for all that you have done for Devree, Shana, and the boys at home. We still have the trials of everyday life, but it is amazing how light the burden becomes when you are together as a functioning family unit. We are all very blessed to be members of our wonderful families.

Love you all!!!
Todd & Family

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Well we had a lovely flight home and it was wonderful to be home once again. Lovely friends had come to clean our house and there are a few things that the boys have let stack up.

It was great to sleep in our own beds. We have so much stuff to go through and things to store etc. This morning started at 5am which is okay compared to TN time. Devree needed a little help getting ready for seminary and school. I fixed french toast and we read a chapter of scriptures and got everyone out the door except Dane. He doesn't have to get on the bus for about 2 hours after everyone else. We studied for a spelling test that he will ace. Then I dropped him off at Leslie's to catch the bus so I could go and get Devree registered for school She is going the whole day and I can't wait to see how she did.

Then off shopping and back home to get things put away and start laundry and other things.

Love to all of you and all of your support. I will probably just write weekly. Life is hectic and wonderful! I feel so blessed and happy to have witnessed all of Devree's big and little miracles.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Final Frontier!

This is her fancy very soft Russian hat that was given to Devree yesterday. This is when they pulled her line. This was the line that was inside of her.
This is Lindsey on the left and Susan Gruwell on the right. They have been our Member friends at Target House.

This is us 4 together standing at the front desk of Target House 2.

Here is our last day at St. Jude's. We started out yesterday by getting checked out of our apartment. We took pictures of Susan and Lindsey Gruwell. It was a little sad to say goodbye to Target House. It has served us well and been a really comfortable quiet place to stay and live while we have been here.

We know we will go home to noise and a bit of chaos living with the 4 males in our life. We are so excited to go home and be a whole family once again. We know that we have lived a life of leisure being at the hospital and will go home to a completely filled schedule with school, sports, band, church and all of the many other things that fill our lives. I am a little concerned that I will be up to the task. But I know that Devree and will be in the same boat about taking one step at a time and easing into our past life.

Today Devree has a sign on her walker that says "Today I am going home!" We are telling everyone about our big party at Lake Tahoe on Saturday.

The Griffins gave us a big party at their house last night. We had wonderful food and said goodbye to many friends. I had to watch for the tears and keep them in check because it is so sad to leave so many wonderful people. We will be back for our check ups though.

We spent the night at the Rice's and Celest gave us wonderful gifts and a beautiful card and really spoiled us. She gave us so many wonderful things including a "Willow sculpture of a mother hugging her daughter and an angel christmas ornament. We did not have room to bring those things home. I packed Devree's suitcase so full, I broke the attachment on the zipper! Celest will be kind enough to send them to us. I feel bad, because I just realized that she gave us these awesome luggage tags and I forgot them at their house. Boo Hoo! But Devree and I will do lots of traveling so we will have them for next time.

The hospital weighed her and she gained more weight and she grew taller a little bit. She was worried that they would poke her to get blood, because of her line being pulled but they didn't need to check her blood. We saw Lindsey, Dr. Armstrong and Elizabeth and saw others to say goodbye. So goodbye Memphis. You have served us well. We will miss you and look forward to our 6 visits in the next 18 months. Thank you St. Jude's!