Thursday, December 31, 2009

Noble's 18th Birthday!

This is the 3 boys playing on our new (used) trampoline.
Happy Birthday Noble! You get breakfast in bed!

Here's your breakfast and presents.

It is hard to imagine that my first baby turned 18! He has been a great son, brother, cousin and friend. He has grown into a talented, funny, responsible, compassionate, outgoing, young man. I can't imagine the void when he leaves for his mission. I think I have prepared him for those things he will be facing and the many choices he will be making. We have had many talks about those things in life that truly make you happy including living the gospel, choosing an eternal companion that makes you grow and who is firmly rooted in the gospel, besides the other insanities of the female sex he should try to avoid! We have talked about what kind of career he would enjoy and what talents he still wants to develop. He has helped me to be a better person and I have cherished these 18 years and look forward to the future and all of the wonderful things he will get to experience.

As the year 2010 is upon us I ask myself "How did the time go by so quickly?" Yes 2009 has been a challenging year and there have been times when I thought the clock was not even moving! And yet there have been so many wonderful, happy, joyful times that I am sorry to see it go. Celest and Breck's family have been so wonderful to help us through the rough patches and I don't think that Devree and I would have fared as well without their constant concern and care. THANK YOU SO MUCH! There are not enough Thank You's to cover your love and compassion and good times and goodies that you have given us. It has been such a delight to be welcomed into your home and really get to know the COUSIN'S. Thanks for helping with Shay and Dane when they were here too.

We have been blessed by all of the people around us. People in Dayton have really been kind and thoughtful and the people in the stake and of course in our ward have been so wonderful. There are so many people all over that have helped us through this journey. As I write about the end of this year I will give you the update on Devree. Yesterday she "graduated" from Occupational Therapy. She is writing much better and can do all of those small motor skills with her hands including buttoning the small square buttons on her blouse that I can't do easily. Devree was tested extensively, psychologically and intellectually when we were at St. Jude's last time and according to the results they sent us, Devree is at average or above average. This was not so when she was tested right after her brain surgery. So this means response time, calculating difficult math problems etc. have improved. She can now have energy for a very long day and does not get nauseated or vomit at all. She still has been hovering around 100 lbs but seems to be eating alot better. Devree told me her goal was to gain 20 lbs by March. That is a hard task but we just encourage her to eat. There are still sad things she must cope with. Her infertilty issues causes her to have interesting conversations at school when she hears some girl say "I never want kids." She continues to show girls that say "I'm having a bad hair day!" really what it could be like. Her hair issues include not growing in where she was intensely radiated. But most times we tell ourselves, it is of little consequence. DEVREE is a MIRACLE and she is ALIVE and THRIVING! What more can we ask for?

Friday, December 25, 2009


Little Hallie looked better than a gift at a luncheon on Wednesday out with the girls.
To celebrate birthdays from Halloween on and to celebrate the kids being out of school, we went to lunch. From left is Connie O'Barr, Arianne Evans, Leslie Olson, Pam Neimiester and Stephanie Clark.

Todd had to work on Christmas Eve day but the rest of the family played in the snow. Shay was tired from his long walk up the hill on our perfect sliding day next to Riverview School.

Devree on the red tobaggon, Dane in his snowsuit, Noble pulling Devree up the hill and Shay.

Devree bundled up so she doesn't get any snow INSIDE!

Shay's idea to take Low Rider down with him and Noble. The dog did not like it!
Devree got cold in the snow so she wanted a bubble bath in our Jacuzzi to warm up.

Our Nativity on Christmas Eve. Devree said her walker was the donkey.
Finally the shepherd (Dane) boy showed up but forgot his staff.

The P.J.'s I made for everybody and T-shirts were their Christmas Eve presents. They decided to act like doofus' and hike their bottoms to their armpits. The boys all have snowboarders on them. Devree's are her favorite purple color.
What did we get in our stockings?
Dane is excited about his pack of "The Magic Tree House Books". All 32 of the first books.
Shay excited about his "recycled" googles that Noble found at the "Goodwill Store".
What is Christmas without getting some weapons? Swords from Grandma and Grandpa Rice.
Devree is happy about her scripture stickers for all of the Seminary Mastery. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Rice.

Noble got the first "Glee" album from the TV show and boy does it have some great music on it. Music like Heart and others I knew growing up. Another great gift from G & G Rice.
It was a bounteous Christmas with many wonderful gifts. Karyn and Lafi gave us Puerto Rico and the Northern Nevada Children's cancer group came through with each of our wish lists. But this season was much sweeter than usual because we were all home and enjoying each other. We are truly grateful for the blessings we have received this year and are trying to always remember that Life truly is a great blessing.
May your Christmas be about enjoying the blessings you have been blessed with this year. May you have that happiness and joy in your heart as we also have it in our hearts.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Concerts

The Jazz Band

Trying to focus but too far away. Noble during his Jazz solo.

Shay pretending to play before his concert began.

Samantha a girl from the other ward and in Shay's band and was in his 1st grade class.

We had another awesome week and we are really ready for Christmas to come. We haven't had any more snow since last weekend but I made a nice blister on my hand trying to shovel our driveway and the walks in front of our house. We only have a little square nosed shovel and my lovely, kind neighbor came and helped me with her nice large snow shovel. She has been so awesome and kind to give us extra food, extra help, an exercise bike and whatever we need. I am going to have to get her picture on the blog.

Tuesday we went to Noble and Devree's Christmas concert. Todd got a picture of Noble but I wasn't able to get a picture of Devree and she was so funny dancing during the songs. Everyone was laughing at her. She has gotten lots of cards and gifts and invites to partys. Noble did do a solo during a jazz number so that is why we he is standing. We were way far in the back.

Shay also had his concert on Thursday and his 7th grade band did quite well. His trumpet playing doesn't sound like an elephant dying anymore.

Today we are off to see "Avatar". The boys (Todd included) have been looking forward to this for weeks. I am a little concerned because it is rated PG13 and I don't want it to be too violent for Dane. I would rather see "The Frog Princess" and not have to worry because it is rated G. There are so many movies we look forward to see and yet they turn out to be not so wonderful. Even the kids movies have lots of sarcasm or smart-alecky kids, that I don't like the movies. Well I will let you know if we liked the movie.
YES! The movie was very wonderful and entertaining. It did say the "s" word in it but I bet it will win an academy award because the computer graphics were truly AMAZING! The use of flourescent glow-in-the-dark colors and just the sheer beauty of the filming was just fantastic. As my brother Ky said "It's okay for all of that tree hugger stuff to be on a different planet'". I told Ky that for those that love the animals and plants and worship them... are only one step off from worshipping the almighty that created all of it in the first place.
If you got to see the Mormon Tabernacle choir on PBS last week, it was awesome. One of my favorite Christmas songs is "The Friendly Beasts" where the Nativity animals sing about Christ's birth from their point of view. I thought the singer made it silly but I always picture it sung with great reverence. You know the song where it starts "I said the Donkey all shaggy and brown. I carried his mother up hill and down."

May your Christmas be filled with cheer just by being surrounded by those you love and enjoying the LIFE that you are living.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it SNOW!

Shay, Todd and Low Rider shoveling our Driveway.

The boys (Manny, Kyle and Noble) put snow inside Noble's truck.

Manny, Kyle (in bare feet) and Noble after they filled the truck.

Devree in the taboggan to enjoy the snow.

Todd pulled Devree all around the neighborhood so she could enjoy the snow.
Our backyard with huge (4-5 ft) icicles hanging off the roof.

Well we got another bunch of snow yesterday so church is cancelled today! We are going to have a lesson at home and Todd and Noble are going to walk to their home teaching appointments today. They all live in the same neighborhood as us. What a beautiful blanket.

On Wednesday the kids went back to school and what a hectic day. We had the Northern Nevada Childrens Cancer Group party. It was in Reno at the Eldorado. The roads were still horrible and that day Devree had her OT and PT appointments, Noble helped with Cub Scouts and Dane was there too. We had to pick up everyone on our way and we were 45 minutes late because of traffic and snow. We all had a marvelous time and the food was fantastic. Santa and Mrs. Claus gave out gifts for all of the children and their siblings. Dane got a very cool remote control, helicopter and flying saucer. The rest got a stuffed gorilla and a $15. Walmart gift card.
Thursday was busy again with taking Devree to a gastroentologist to see if we can get her whole digestive system working better. He wants her to get an xray of her bowels. He told her to drink twice as much and to go back to the high calorie drink and a few other things. After we left, Devree started to cry because she said "I don't like being broken". She has had a much better short week at school.

Friday Todd and I went to the temple and as we passed Washoe Lake within 1/4 of a mile, there were 4 cars slid off the road and one car rolled. There were only 10 people in the temple session and Todd and I were the witness couple. The snow started to come down again.

Saturday, Noble and Shay wanted to go Christmas shopping so we all went and it was funny to see the boys get so excited about the Goodwill store. They love the interesting things you can find and found some gifts for Todd. We got the final things done and the snow was really coming down. You know the kind when you walk to the car from the store and you are covered in a blanket of white? So we got probably 6 more inches of snow.
I have one more funny story. We have been listening to Christmas music on the radio and Noble and Devree informed me that there was this one singer that sang "Silent Night" like a goat. Then Noble started to immitate the singer using his voice vibrato to hold the notes in Silent Night and sounding like a goat. So as we were driving in the car yesterday, and listening to the radio the singer comes on singing "Silent Night". It was Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac! So listen the next time and see if you can hear the goat!
Have a happy Sabbath!

Monday, December 7, 2009

"O Christmas Tree"

Snow beautiful snow! This was at 5:30 AM and NO SCHOOL!

It doesn't look like it is that big!

It took Todd, Noble, Shay and I with all of our strength to get that tree on top of the car.

Can't get the tree hardly through the door!

See how big the tree is?
Manny at the head of the band!

New Band Uniforms! See the "Dust Devil" on his left shoulder?

Shay and Dane are marching with Noble during "Grandma got ran over by a reindeer".

We got back safely and had a busy Saturday. First was the Ward Christmas Breakfast. That was wonderful to see everyone.

We rushed off to cut our tree. It was a bit harder this year because there was a couple of inches of snow and so we had to hike around down in a gulley and finally found a tree that we could be happy with. It was huge of course and now it is the BIGGEST tree we have ever had. I had to move the piano back about 3 feet so I can practice and it goes clear across the livingroom to the TV. It is beautiful and so FULL! Angel Moroni is a fraction from the ceiling.

Noble marched in the Virginia City parade of lights. It is a tiny parade where people put lights and decorations on their cars and it is at night or 5pm. It was FREEZING and everyone had a hard time because even their spit was freezing in the instruments. They had to take the tuba to warm up in the car because it wouldn't work.

Sunday was so busy I don't think I breathed until today. We went early to practice a song with 3 other Mother/Daughter couples to sing "Star Bright" in Relief Society. I taught the lesson in Sunday School and then sang in RS. We hurried home to have something to eat and back to tithing settlement and choir practice. Then home again for the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Wasn't that a great Christmas program? I love President Monson's stories. They always make me cry. After the program the Home Teachers came.

It started to snow last night and the boys had to go and play in it. It snowed and snowed and this morning there was about 6". Of course that is more than we have ever seen it snow in our little hometown or even Fernley for the last 16 years. It is a SNOW DAY and no School. Everyone is happy about it of course and Noble's friends came and grabbed him to help shovel walks for people who need help. Shay was asked to help a sister in the ward and now Dane wants to go play with a friend. I am going to cook some goodies I think.

Happy Snow Day

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Last Day of our 1st Check-up

Well we went to see the Endocrinologist yesterday. He didn't have great news. He said that because Devree's estrogen levels are low that she probably will have fertility issues. Devree handled it okay and said "I've always wanted lots of kids. I guess I will have to adopt."

Devree is a little sore today. Lindsay kept poking her back for the lumbar puncture and finally the anesthesiologist finally was able to do it. Lindsay just can't do it because she is too little (our nickname Santa's elf) She has been given 3 times! Can't we say 3 strikes and now "YOU'RE OUT!" I think the next time I am going to have to stand up for Devree and say, I'm sorry but I request someone else to do the L.P. For those that need to understand a little bit better. You get sedated but they have this little prong thing that is supposed to seperate the spinal fibers and not puncture the fibers to get into the spinal cord to get a little bit of fluid. This is done to test for cancer cells. The prong thing is dull so it requires lots of muscle to puncture it in far enough.

We had only two appointments today and they are just tests that Devree signed up to help other brain cancer patients. One is a MRI that looks at results while she is solving problems. The other is a psychology test that is a two parter she has already been tested for 2 hours on Monday and then today is another 2 hour test. This is why we couldn't fly back today because the test goes too long for any flights out to the West. Then today we find out the test was moved up so we could've flown back. Devree says the test is over and over starting at a primitive level then going up to college level. You know I don't understand why people want to make tests so long. I think in 2 hours that is long enough. It is just like the stupid surveys. They are always too long. Maybe I should start a business about shortening tests and surveys!

My Christmas quote. This is from the December Ensign "With Love from My Sisters" by Marina Petrova. "In the end our 'poor' Christmas was a particularly joyful one. Our home was filled with not only the spirit of Christmas but also the warmth and love of my visiting teachers and other members of our branch. I came to understand that the Lord truly does meet our needs most often through other people---particularly those He has assigned and inspired to watch over and care for us."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2nd day of check-ups

Due to technical difficulties I have posted 2 days blog today. So check out the previous blog so you can see what is going on.

Thank you again Summer for decorating my blog and I will ask you to put Devree and I's favorite Christmas songs on. Congratulations Summer on your coming arrival. That is pretty exciting, but I think you will have your hands full because you will have a pretty close bunch!

Well we started off the day badly! First of all we had to be at the hospital at 6:30 and I had been awake since 4am. I was in a rush to get Devree ready because she didn't want to wake up. I put on her braces and shoes because she has her left arm wrapped up straight for the IV they leave in for all of her procedures. Then we couldn't find her glasses anywhere! Well when she got dressed for the second time after her MRI, there they were crushed in the bottom of her shoe! She didn't feel them because of her thick plastic brace and I didn't know they were in there.

We did have some wonderful news. Both her MRI's are clean and beautiful and her counts are good and her thyroid is good and her growth hormones are normal but her estrogen is low. All of these things are affected by radiation and have to be checked every time we come. They do have medication that can treat all of these things.

The Gruwell's ran into us and Lindsay is looking really wonderful. Her short hair is growing in wonderful. She was a bone marrow reciepient and her counts are still 0 and she has to be away from people still but seems happy to be on the mend.

We have been blessed with a great check-up. Devree is a little disappointed that the Physical Therapist here said she wasn't ready for the four-footed cane but Lindsay, the nurse, said Dr. Armstrong just signed the order to approve the cane from the physical therapist back in Dayton which put a smile on Devree's face!

President Eyring -" Christmastime it is the feeling of giving with a generous heart. This can come as we feel the needs of others more than our own and when we sense how generous God has been to us."

First Day Check-up

Jackson at the party. He went to the emergency room twice in one week...for dog bites and falling on the fireplace and splitting his head open.
From Left to right. Jackson, Paul, Tayzia, Talon, Celest and Breck

Annette and Trisha - Moms helping out with the party!
Devree and Brittany with her shoulder injury.

Shelby, Ashley and Kenzi


Mandarin with Ashley making bunny ears.
Bill Griffin, Lisa Wilcox, Breck and Brenda Griffin
Michael, Paul and Talon trying to get out of the picture.
Now they grabbed Talon so he could be in the picture.
Megan the volleyball star!

Well we had a pretty good flight except they closed down runway in Memphis and we circled around the airport for 40 minutes. During that time, Devree sang to me all of the songs she will be singing at the Christmas Concert soon. There were Breck, Celest, Tayzia, Talon, Kallie and Jackson waiting with the welcome signs. The airport didn’t hava a wheelchair so we went anyway. Then we hurried home and had a quick, fancy and delicious meal and then it was party party till 9:30pm.

I was having a hard time wanting to leave home again after being home for one day. We put our Christmas lights up and decorated the inside. We will go and cut our tree next Saturday. But you know how it is. The surreal list of things to do for the holidays and I didn’t want to go back to St. Jude’s. Well my attitude changed as soon as we saw all of the people that love us here in Memphis. It made my heart feel overflowing joy to have so many come last night and wish us well. THANK YOU ETHEL for the use of your car while we are here. Besides being here during the holiday is great too. Lots of places and homes have beautiful lights and I can enjoy that too! Going back to St. Judes is a lot easier when you know that you will be flying home on Thursday. We have already seen some friends that are still here. We will probably see some more that coincide their check-ups with us.

Devree got some good news already! Her hearing in her left ear is better. It used to be moderate (just her left ear) now it is on the border of mild hearing loss. Nothing is better in her right ear…YET!

So this is supposed to be "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" Are you enjoying it yet?

I am going to put a quote in every post that is related to Christmas. This is by President Henry B. Eyring. "What all of us long for in our hearts, at Christmastime and always, is to feel bound together in love with the sweet assurance that it can last forever... This is the promise of eternal life, which God has called His greatest gift to His children."