Monday, September 1, 2014

Ferocious gnarly viking teeth...

Good morning everyone!

I got out of the house extra early this morning in an attempt to write this blog post before I engage in some extra geeky fun. 

I’m sitting typing this in a Biggby coffee that just happens to be the first store ever.  It’s directly across the street from the apartment I had in East Lansing in the summer of 1992 through the Spring of 1993, just past where Michigan and Grand River split apart.  Makin’ me all kinds of nostalgic, to be honest.

Our brains are funny and strange things.  Did you ever think about the power of expectations?  If someone says to you that in 10 days, you’re going to have to work at 20 hour shift, you can get yourself ready for that.  You’ll have a certain kind of sick pride that you can get through it with grace and wit…or maybe just grace.  After a 20 hour shift you’re mostly brain dead.  But I digress.  My point was that if you have the warning, you can do it.  Get asked to stay 30 minutes past where you thought you were going to leave on a normal day?  Total breakdown, massive pain in the butt.

The hospital is a lot like that.  You have a general expectation that any time you walk into the building, it’s going to be a 6-hour ordeal.  Some days are much less, some days are longer.

Shelley walked into Mott on Tuesday expecting a normal 6-ish hour day, and found herself in a nightmarish 11-hour extravaganza.   We had been told that our next chemo drop was going to be on Thursday, and the visit on Tuesday was just to get blood counts to make sure Amie was ready for the next round.  When she got there, however, she found out that the protocols for the insurance company had changed, and the specific chemo that she was receiving was now only authorized for outpatient care, with IV Mesna (to protect her bladder) and fluids to continue for 5 hours.  6 hours turns into 11 hours (with traffic), and normal becomes nightmarish.  Good times.

Amie is doing alright.  Her hair loss from last blog post seems to have plateaued for the moment.

You know what’s the saddest thing about it for me right now?  Her stoicism.  She isn’t yelling, crying, screaming, or any other antics, about her hair loss.  She’s taking it in stride, like everything else. 

She said to Shelley the other day, “Mumma, I don’t think I can do a braid across or sprouts today.”  As you can see, she has this fine, wispy cap of hair left…and almost nothing else.  She can have no hairstyle at all.  It might look better shaved.  But what is she thinking about?  Letting Mom know that she doesn’t think she can manage a hairstyle, as though she’s notifying her that she doesn’t want to wear a dress today.  So impressive on so many levels.  So worthy of teaching all the adults in her life what’s the proper way to deal with adversity.

As you can see here, Shelley can make anything look good, as these girls make it super easy to make things look good.  Keep me out of the picture though...

So the week of September 12th brings us two things I wanted to spent a little time talking about...

The first of which is the two year anniversary of Amie's diagnosis.  How in the heck have we done this for 2 years?  I remember meeting some people in clinic and hearing them talk about how they had been in treatment for 2 years and thought that there was no way we could ever do that.   Well, we are.  We have no idea about when treatment for Amie might ever be done as we're in seriously uncharted territory with her specific diagnosis....  but we're going to keep plugging along.  2 years.  Yikes.  Will we hit 4?

Next, on Saturday September 13th is the 10th Annual Tim Watson Golf Tournament and fundraiser.  We are one of the two families they have chosen to donate towards, as I've spoken about here previously.  I spoke to Kim Dybicki yesterday, and she said that anyone who wishes to donate gift certificates, baskets, or anything of the like for their charity raffle would be greatly appreciated.  Email her here to get in touch with her about that.

I originally posted this on Facebook, and wanted to close out the post with my pre-school preparations.  Anya is helping me garner the proper ferocity to be a Viking (the mascot of my middle school).  I plan on wearing the hat the first day of school to help get me into character.

Have a great day, y'all!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Caught up...

I think blogging is a lot like working out. 

When you’re in a good swing, it becomes part of your normal routine, and you just do it, and know that it’s not hard.

When you get out of regular practice, it just backs up and backs up, and you start creating reasons to avoid it <there’s so much I have to write about!> that you just decide to play more video games instead.  Ahhhh….

So yes, I have a block of time here for the next three+ hours while Shelley has a minor surgery (she’s having hear ears removed so that she doesn’t have to listen to me anymore), and this seems like the perfect time to do some serious writing.

I’m going to do the Amie update stuff up front, so those of you who are not overly interested in the inner-most workings of my family and my mind can opt-out of the blog post early.  J

Amie got done with her first round of chemo (for this cycle, which is actually her 15th round of chemo, according to Shelley) on August 9th, and has handled it great.  She hasn’t vomited once, and we’ve gotten really quite good at anticipating when to give her Miralax to help with the...other side effects.

However, we knew it was coming…She’s started to lose her hair again, big time.  She lost about 30% of her hair in the last 24 hours.  Here’s what came out last night after she was sitting on my lap, with her head against my chest.

It is what it is, but it’s just sad.

Also, Amie’s memory seems to be really wobbly (like her movement) these days.  Dr. Robertson says she believes it’s chemo induced (and temporary), and not radiation brain damage cognitive deficits.

For example, in June, Amie could sing the entire song of “Do you want to be a snowman?” from Frozen.  Now she knows the first line, and then she gets a really confused look on her face and says, “I  fregot”.  Same with shapes, letters, and some words she was already working on. 

We’re hoping that it is temporary, but let me tell you, to see a kid’s memory literally disappear….her quickness disappear, and her confidence in her memories disappear…it’s a kick in the pants.

Other than that, things have been really peaceful and quiet.  Some would say boring, but that has such a negative connotation, and the new me has gotten so much better at appreciating the silent periods in life, and living more in the moment.  I will never say I’m good at it yet, but I will say that I’ve gotten much better.

Anya had Special Days camp the week before last, and as it was the last 3 times she’s gone, it was amazing for her. She walked onto the bus with no fear of being away from Mom and Dad for a week, and had the best time ever.  I love the idea that she has this place that is only hers, and that she can count on, year after year until she’s 18.  Even after, if she wants to be a counselor and work there after she is done being a camper.  So, so cool.

Working backwards…  Hawai’i. 


I think that when I die, it will go down that Aulani is the nicest place that I have stayed in my life.  Part of that is Make-A-Wish granting our ability to get there, and part of it is our room being upgraded by an awesome guy….  But either way, it was magical for the girls and I.

We’re a month after getting back from the trip, and they haven’t stopped talking about it.  Whether it’s the family time that we spent on the beach, in the water, on the waterslides, in the lazy river or just walking around, they enjoyed it on a level that I think they’ll remember it for a long time.

People keep asking them “What was their favorite part?”, and Anya has a really hard time answering that.  I think part of that is that it was just overwhelmingly great, and a treat to spend so much time as a family together, not worrying about any of the cancer stuff…and just being as normal as possible. 

A good story about the return trip:

On the way to Hawai’i, we had a calm one hour layover in Phoenix, so we assumed we would have the same on the way back.

The flight from Honolulu to Phoenix was smooth and kind to us, going overnight and landing at 7:30a in Phoenix.  We knew we had to board the next plane at 8:40, and shouldn’t have been a problem being that we had only carry-ons, and were in the same airport.

We were wrong.

So we land at 7:30a, and start disembarking within a few minutes.  We were in the very last row, row 35.  At 8:00a, we still hadn’t moved an inch from our seats, due to the number of people in front of us.  By 8:10a, we are off the plane, and look at our tickets to see which gate we’re loading on.  BIG MISTAKE.  NEWBIE MISTAKE JASON!

We move quickly across the airport to our gate, which is about a mile walk away…..ya see, Phoenix Sky Harbor is way, way bigger than Detroit Metro Airport, and our gates were at opposite ends.  We make the quick walk between them (knowing the doors will close 10 minutes before takeoff) and arrive to see that they had moved our gates back to about ½ way between the two points.

I grabbed all 4 carry-ons, put Amie on Shelley’s back, and we started to run.  I’m not a small guy, as you might know.  Now imagine what I look like with my messenger bag, Anya’s backpack, my backpack, and Amie’s string backpack all slung around my arms, neck and back…it must have been quite a sight.  At one point, rounding a corner, Anya’s right shoe flew off, and she grabbed it and kept running.  She was crying by the end, but she made it (with both shoes off and in her hands by the end).  We made the gate just in time, and made the flight.  It was straight out of a bad movie.

The last thing I had to write about was the fundraiser we had with The Link Fund and the two couples from Teen Mom/Teen Mom2.  To start off with, everyone involved was incredibly nice.  Insanely incredibly nice.  You have these preconceived notions about what “reality TV” stars might be like, and you’re hesitant.  But they were sincere, genuine, and kind people.

The thing we couldn’t talk about beforehand is that we knew that the MTV cameras were going to be there.  We didn’t want to have that part get out because the event might have quickly become a madhouse with people who just wanted to get on TV, and would have tainted the spirit of the event.  But from what I’ve been able to figure out so far, MTV is doing another season with the original cast members of Teen Mom, minus one who seems to have gone off the rails a bit.

It was so incredibly cute to see your daughters performing songs from Frozen to groups of people, some of whom have Twitter followers in the millions.  Amie, of course, charmed the pants off everyone, and Anya loved doing art projects with Javi and Kailyn’s son. 

I got an email from a former student who works at a local chapter of the Boys and Girls club, and the kids there (some of which are former students) got together and did a Team Amie walk.  I was so proud and humbled by their actions, and wanted to give them a little love.  Thanks y'all!

I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but Shelley and Amie (as a means to develop rapport and break the ice with Amie meeting a ton of new people this summer) had a habit where they asked every new person they knew "What's your favorite color?".  They then came home and Anya graphed the results.  (Go Simons and Churchill!)  Mott recently included their summer survey in their Camp Little Victors mailing that went home.  Good stuff!

Someone asked me the other day when I was at school how my summer was…and I think the proper answer would be overwhelming.  It was overwhelmingly good to see my family having so many normal moments.  It was overwhelming to see so many people coming together to raise money for my family.  It was overwhelming to go to Hawai’i in such bittersweet way.  It was overwhelming for Amie to have radiation every day for so long, even though I had to be part of so little of it.  It was overwhelming to see Amie starting to lose her hair (again) and her ability to remember things so quickly.  Yes, overwhelming is proper.

SO… I’m going to call this caught up on the blog, and move on from here.  School starts on Tuesday, which means I’m back on a schedule, and much more able to keep focused on doing blog posts.

Hope all is well with each of you.

ps.  In case there’s blog readers on who aren’t on Facebook…I’m collecting Xbox 360 games for the kids on Mott’s cancer ward.  If you have any extra Xbox 360 games laying around and would like to donate them to me, send me an email and we’ll figure out how to get them there.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

He's Back!

Greetings All!

Sorry I took most of the last month off blogging.  I wasn't in a good head space to do it, and figured that it was better to not post than to post some angry/whiny/annoyed post. But playing a bunch of video games, chilling out, and being geeky has been good for my head, apparently.  Or at least I'm good at faking it right now.  :)

So today starts the next 6 months of treatment for Amie.  We've just settled into our room on 7-East, and we're scheduled to be here for the next 5 nights.

We met with Dr. Robertson a few minutes ago, and she was able to show us the images from the most recent MRI.  She lined up the images from the late May MRI where we knew that the tumor was growing aggressively, and then the MRI from just after we got back from Hawai'i.  

They had told us that the change was substantive, but it was more than that.  I'd say that it has significantly decreased, possibly by as much as 30-40%.  Let me tell you, that's quite cool to see.

Anecdote #1:  Amelie loves the hospital.  LOVES.  She's been talking about how excited she is for her "sleepover" at the hospital for the last few weeks.  She was originally scheduled to go inpatient a week ago, and her blood numbers were not high enough (platelets, specifically).  She was devastated.  I don't know if it's the number of shows she gets to watch, the attention from staff, the 1-on-1 time with me and Shel...but whatever it is, she loves it.  The picture above is her waiting today in clinic.

Summer has been great for the girls thus far.  We've been doing our best to make it as special as possible, knowing that the next 6 months is going to have a LOT of hospital time.  A LOT.

One of the things that I wanted to do last summer was to do a movie night on the ceiling.  It was a smashing success!

I projected the movie on the ceiling, and the girls nestled in their snuggly blankets (we cranked up the AC to make it movie theatre-like), and watched the movie.  Mommy's special popcorn, of course, was delivered mid-way through the movie.

The above is Amie's latest and greatest artwork.  Anya has been teaching her how to draw things, and this is her Lion.

Anya's instruction is the best, and I don't have a copy of her directions...she draws out each step, just like the books she uses.  Step 1:  Draw a circle.  Step 2....  Great stuff.

Anya's artwork continues to amaze me though.  The level of detail that she includes just stuns me.  She is drawing with more detail, more patience, and more skill than nearly all my students last year.  
Cool, eh?

Anya is at Special Days camp right now, for the 2nd year.  No hesitation at all to leave us for a week.  None.  She's fearless to leave...  makes me proud.  :)

Special days camp posts pictures each day, and this is one from yesterday.  
She looks miserable, don't you agree?

Another thing we were introduced to through Mott was an organization called Peach's Neet Feet.  They give away hand painted canvas shoes to children in situations like Amie.  You send in a questionnaire, and a while later, voila!  Here are the shots of the super-special shoes she received.  

I realize that I need to do a full blog post about the Teen Mom fundraiser, as well as the Make-A-Wish experience.  I'm going to do those this week.  
I figure 3 long blog posts are better than 1 GIGANTIC one...

One last thing!

As many of you know, I teach in Belleville, and was at the HS for 8 years.  During that time, I had the pleasure to work with Rachel and Ryan Dybicki, as well as Sara Watson.  They were all amazing kids, who constantly worked hard and were awesome to have in class.  Top notch kids. 

Tim Watson is Sara's older brother, and Rachel and Ryan's uncle...and he died of brain cancer in 2006.  The family started the Tim Watson Memorial Golf outing as a charity to help out families suffering from cancer diagnoses.  They have chosen us to be one of the families who are the beneficiaries of the charity this year, once again showing the amazing generosity of people in our communities.

If you want to be part of this, click here to email Kim, or to get more information.

More tomorrow.  I don't want to wear out my welcome now that I'm back!
Hope all is well with each of you.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Repost from FB...

This was a blog post I posted to FB from Hawai'i, as Blogger was running so slow...

Long couple of days over-filled with great stuff. Amie is still waking up at the utter crack of dawn, which makes things really complicated when you have one kid who is up and READY! at 3:30a, but the rest of everyone is not. As it was Shelley's birthday today, I grabbed Amie and we went for a walkabout.

Tonight's big event was the Paradise Cove Luau. Walking into it, I expected cheese. Not sure if it was going to be the good cheese where you can enjoy it, or the bad cheese where you feel tired because of it.

Boy was I wrong. Totally wrong.

The singing of traditional island songs from across the South Pacific was really impressive. The dancing from all the different styles was really impressive, more so because I'm so horrifically uncoordinated that it's light years outside of my comfort zone.

The star part of tonight was the performance of the Haka (the Maori warrior chant) and the Tongan Fire Knife Dance. I've OFTEN been accused of being too tech driven and not in the moment, so I just put down the phone and experienced both without attempting to record them. I'm glad I did.

Here's what I loved about both things....I live in America where we have so few rituals, so few customs... I yearn for them. I love to know about how other people eat, drink, worship, dress, talk...and all other parts of their custom. Hell... I struggle to be a vegetarian on days like this because I just want to eat the Japanese traditional breakfast, or the Hawaiian loco moco breakfast, both of which are meaty to the extreme...just to try them. The dances tonight were a celebration of a culture that is alive and amazing to those who come from it, and defines who they are in so many ways.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the use of the terms "Cousin", "Aunty", and "Uncle" here. Over and over, people are referred to as family....not in the blood relation sense, but in the Hawaiian 'Ohana sense that we're all related, we're all here to help each other, and things only get better when we slow down and help each other. Strangers are Cousins in that we ought to treat them with respect and love and patience. Elders are Aunties and Uncles in that they have stories and lessons to teach us, and that might just help us avoid a few catastrophic blunders in our own lives, or at the very least give us a little context to how they became who they are today.

Yesterday was the solo character meet and greet with our ‘Ohana. <Seriously, I’m going to import this idea into my classroom this year> Shelley and I both were thinking that the girls were not going to be into it very much because they have had so little exposure to Mickey and Minnie. Once again, boy were we wrong!

The girls both loved the crap out of it, and were so happy it went as long as it did. For 30 minutes the girls hung out in a private courtyard, with both characters pantomiming all their responses. The girls loved every minute of it, and kept coming back with hugs and hugs and hugs for them. Aulani provided a disc with all the pictures from the event, and I of course shot my share as well.

The girls are all sleeping, so I’m going to end this now. There’s a TON more I could write about, but I pick that up later.

This should have been a proper blog post with all of this, but FB was loading the pictures much faster than blogspot, so I loaded them here. 

Night All!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Is there anything she can't do?!?

Greetings All,

I wanted to wait a bit on this blog post for some news from Google, and now that I got it I can proceed.

By encouraging you to click on the ads, I violated their terms of service, and they turned off the ads and removed all the ad profits I had been accumulating from the month of June.  C’est la vie.  It wasn’t ever going to be a replacement income for Shelley…but it was nice.  Whatever.  J

Amie Update:
  • She had her final radiation treatment last week, and it sent swimmingly well, as it had all along.  She’s really a trooper.  At the end of the process of radiation at UMHS/Mott, the patient gets to ring this bell.  It’s the type of bell that ends rounds of a professional boxing fight and is really, really loud.  Here’s the video of it that we posted on FB last week.
  • Amie is also having side effects from the Irinotecan, which are these weird ghostly lower-GI stomach cramps.  I’d say they look like menstrual cramps that I’ve seen people reacting to…but that might be considered “too much!”, so I won’t….but I did.  <See what  I did there?>.
  • We are scheduled to go into Mott tomorrow for a blood draw and a meeting with Dr. Robertson and Marcia, and they’ll give us the timeline of where we go from here.
  • Also, as we’ve posted on FB, our Make-A-Wish trip is scheduled for July 16th – July 23rd.  The resort is on the SW corner of O’ahu, about a 30-minute drive from Honolulu International Airport.  They’ve scheduled us a 4-ish hour flight leaving Detroit Metro at 10am to Phoenix with a small layover (90-minutes) and then a 6-hour flight to O’ahu.  We’ll lose 6 hours on the flight, and get there around 5:30p local time.  I can’t wait to see what the girls look like after that time shift.  The first experience with jet-lag is never good.  J  More information later, as we’re meeting with our wonderful Make-A-Wish coordinator on Tuesday.

However, the big event on our horizon is the Mom-2-Mom eventon Sunday with the stars of Teen Mom and Teen Mom2.   The entire event is being organized by the people who own The Link Fund, and much of the proceeds are going to be donated to us.  Here are the hard details:
  • Doors open at 9:30am and the event goes to 4pm.
  • The event will be at Mt. Brighton.
  • There will be food and beverages sold at the event, by the Mt. Brighton location staff.  No idea on what or how much.
  • The Teen Mom/Teen Mom 2 couples are both going to be there signing for the entirety of the event.
  • The cost of admission is $4.
  • There will be a variety of vendors selling goods + Moms selling gently used goods of their own.
  • There will be copies of the Kailyn's book available for sale.
  • There will be a package for sale at the event for a signed postcard, a linkfund bracelet, and a picture with the stars that will be mailed to you after the event.  I believe that is $15.
  • I'm sure there's more.  Email me with questions.

For those of you who want to help out at the event, the coordinator is Ashley Haponek, and she’d love the help.  Contact me and I will coordinate.  She needs people to help organize people, take pictures, collect admissions, etc, etc.  Anyone want to hang out and help?

One last thing…  it was recommended to us that the GoFundMe website was a bit more well-known and trusted, so we switched over to that from fundrazr.  The fees to use them both are roughly the same. 

Lastly, a few pictures!

Shelley and I got a break on our anniversary that I talked about on the last post and I took this picture.  The peony gardens are a stone's throw (literally) from Mott, and amazingly gorgeous.  Take a walk through there (handicap accessible too, with metered parking nearby) next time you're near there.  Part of the Nichols Arboretum footprint.

Shelley's been on a crafty binge for a while, and I need to show her off.  She is too humble to do so herself.  Here are a few of her crafty bits...

We're leaving in 10 days.  Instead of just answering the question every time it's asked, she created a palm tree with a coconut on it for each day until we leave.  Each of the girls get to pull one down (alternating on evens/odds of course) each day.

I love these fingerless gloves.  Shel gave them to the Child Life person who worked with Amie every day of her radiation treatment.  I think they are beyond cool.

 Shelley is now making her own clothes.  She knit the top.  Is there anything she can't do?

Anya's classroom is the Narwhal classroom.  
Shelley made these for Anya's teachers as a gift to finish off the school-year.  So, so cool.

More news in the days to come..

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cancer Compromises...

Greetings All,

Let’s knock out the medical/update stuff before I get all philosophical: 

  • ·      Amie is doing really well this week, and is right now at her 23rd radiation appointment.
  • ·      As they said would happen, she’s starting to get these slight radiation burns on the back of her head.  I haven’t had a chance to take pictures of them yet, but they look like a bad rash.  They haven’t bothered her one bit yet, so I’m hesitant to bring any attention to them at all.
  • ·      She started her next round of chemotherapy yesterday, and will get that every day this week, through Saturday.  We’re hoping the medicines they gave her prior to her start this round will help ameliorate (see what I did there….) some of the more negative side effects of Irinotecan….without a doubt the worst of the chemo meds we’ve encountered this far.
  • ·      We are waiting on the travel agent’s call to get the final details on the trip to Hawaii.  We’ve asked to go the week of July 13th, just after the Teen Mom/Teen Mom 2 fundraiser on July 13th at Mt. Brighton.

Without a doubt, this was the best year of teaching that I have ever had.  I’ve had better relationships with students, felt more on the ball with certain things other years…but this was the best year overall for everything coming together in my classroom.  However…

I am so glad this school year is over.  By the end, I was barely holding things together… my filter was terrible.  I can’t remember if I said this to a parent, or in the blog…but the kids who need the most patience in my classroom are often the ones that inspire the least patience in teachers.  It was so, so hard to summon that patience for kids who were not being the best versions of themselves.  Those students are often the ones that lack the guidance, discipline, mentorship…whatever you want to call it, outside the classroom.  They need patience, and boy oh boy did I run out of it after I got back from Washington DC.  I’m very lucky I didn’t say something too snarky to someone.  Looking forward to having a few months to recharge my well of patience.  J

I’ve been thinking recently about parenting, and more specifically about parenting during a struggle such as we’re going through right now.  I know we don’t have a monopoly on struggles…and there’s tons of other parents going through really hard situations too. 

In my mind, I was thinking of many of the situations we’re going through as “Cancer Compromises”.  For instance:  Anya has developed a serious habit of denying any responsibility for mistakes with the words, “I didn’t mean to…” or “I wasn’t trying to...”  For example, Shelley asks Anya to put away her art supplies at the table, and she gets sidetracked playing with Amie.  Shelley will then ask again 10-15 minutes later.  She’ll get sidetracked again, and Shelley will repeat again.  By the 3rd time reminding Anya, Shelley’s voice will get much sharper (and this could easily be me too…but mine would sharpen on the 1st reminder) and Anya will immediately launch into a conversation about how she didn’t intend to forget, and why her forgetting was justified.  She often ends this whole episode in a ball of tears when we explain ourselves.

To me, all she has to say is “Ok, Dad.” …and then do it.  That’s all.

So.  Cancer Compromise: 
  • ·      Is Anya acting like this because this is a natural developmental milestone where she’s asserting her independence, and she needs our firmness to fall into line with our family’s expectations?
  • Is Anya acting like this because she’s having a hard time dealing with the stress of knowing that her best friend/little sister is massively struggling with cancer and could die, and has so many emotions bubbling around in her mind that she has an extremely hard time processing them, and gets overly flustered?

Just so you don’t think this is just Anya, let’s do one on Amie.  Shelley asks Amie to put her Princess nightgown back in her PJ drawer so she could wear it to bed tonight.  Amie looks right at Shelley and says, “No.”  Shelley asks Amie what she just said, and Amie says “I said No, Mommy.  I not going to do it.”

Cancer Compromise:
  • Is Amie acting this way because she’s 3.5 years old, and its natural to assert one’s independence, and needs to understand that our family does not talk like that, and her sass is rude?
  •  Is Amie acting this way because she’s undergoing an inhumane torture of radiation and chemotherapy that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, thus making her grumpy, tired, irritable?

In both situations <and I could type out 20 more if I felt like taking the time>, we feel totally justified in talking to our daughters about the way our family acts, the expectations we have for communication, and how we expect them to behave. 

In both situations, we struggle….knowing what both kids are going through.  We know that as adults we are constantly wrestling with the emotions that are going through our minds, and what that does to our behaviors and reactions towards others.

Shouldn’t we be far more lax in how we react towards the kids?  But can’t that same argument be used for why I have students in class who are constantly focused on themselves, rude as hell to others in 8th grade, trying the patience of teachers on a daily basis?

I do not have the answer to this question…  and not sure there even is one other than for us/me to  our hearts and guts and live with the results. 

Anyway… just thought like riffing on this idea for a while as I wait for Shelley’s car repairs to be done (recall work).

One last thing…  it’s our 10th anniversary tomorrow.  We’re spending it together at radiation and chemotherapy, and then home.  We had grand plans this time last year, but those are on hold.  I think we’ll have a ceremonial dinner in Hawaii in a few weeks, and make that our “official” 10th anniversary.

I did buy Shelley an awesome present though.  I can’t wait to give it to her.  I have a problem with things like that.  It actually hurts me to be patient.  So I will now shut up…

Finally, pictures!

I've long showcased Anya's drawings here, but not sure I've shown you any of Amie's "Persons".  
I love them, but they can be profoundly creepy in an awesome way.
Put a knife in any of their hands, and they can easily jump into a horror movie.  MUAHAH!
But I possibly love them even more because of that.

Not sure if any of you have as many apps as I do going on your phone, but I've recently become a big fan of the Google app that hooks your pictures up with Google+.  If you take a bunch of pictures in succession, the app recognizes that...and then automatically makes pictures like this for you.  In some of them, they make an animated .gif, in others they arrange them in cool ways.  Anyway, I thought this one was cool, and immediately made me think of The Brady Bunch....with cloned Amies.

This picture got a ton of love on FB yesterday, but I wanted to highlight it for another reason.  I know a LOT of you are passionate Detroit Tigers fans.  If you look at the door behind Amie, that's the Child Life playroom in the cancer infusion clinic, where she and others get chemotherapy delivered.  This room was sponsored by Brandon Inge and his wife.  
I know nothing about this guy, but love that the room is a place that she gets lots of enjoyment out of when she has the energy, and his donation made that possible.  :)

We went to Book Buddies last night at the Howell Carnegie Library.  This was in their Build It room, while we were waiting for it to start.  
I love love love how Anya is always willing to take a silly picture with me, no matter what it is.  

Amie hasn't done a scrunchy face for me in a long, long time.  He's an update with her sheepdog hair.

Have a great day everyone!