Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blessings from a 2nd grade classroom

Today was SUCH an amazing day!!!! Kayla got the chance finally to sit in her desk in her classroom and have a normal day. It was like she never left. Such great memories. I will never forget the look on the kids faces when the walked in from recess and realized that Kayla was standing there waiting for them. Truly priceless!!! All of the students were in class today... and ALL healthy! Mrs. Boerio made sure. Such a rare occurrence. Clearly our lucky day!
                           Kayla digging into her bag to show off her legacy beads.....
                 SO proud! The kids were raising their hands to ask more questions.
Kayla reading to her friends from a book she made for them, "What I miss about you". It was in response to their book to her, "What I love about you". It was so sweet. She wrote what she missed about each of them with pictures. Mrs. Boerio is going to laminate it. She worked SO hard on that book. It took her months. She put a lot of thought into each person. It was really sweet. :) You can see the kids all smiling and enjoying it! (not as much as I was though!!!)

After her story, they went on to making their art projects, volcanoes and writing their names in cursive at their desks. (Kayla's favorite thing!)

No, she doesn't write upside down... she was drawing a lady bug next to her name. I mean the girl is talented.... but.....    ;)
                           Dinosaur Art...Just like not a day has gone by!
                                      Showing Kayla how to make her volcano
  They even brought in ICE CREAM complete with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Nothing like a little special treat on such a special and memorable day! Keep gaining Kayla!

During all of this, there was a very special surprise being made for her...
A blue sweatshirt (kayla's current favorite color) with all of her classmates signatures on it! How sweet and precious is THIS??? Thank you again Lea! Great idea!!!

Kayla got to erupt the volcano that Mrs. Boerio had from previous (already dry and ready to GO)
 Mrs. Boerio was showing Kayla what to do. Look at the look on Kayla's face... so excited!

 My PROUD girl...... I love this picture of her. It makes me tear up. I know what these moments have meant to her. She has waited and dreamt of this moment for so long. Mrs. Boerio, you are such a special woman. Thank you for today! Thank you......

As if today weren't amazing enough, the presented Kayla with her special surprise. It was like the cherry on top!
 Surprise......... ;)
 SHE LOVES IT!!!!!!!!
Thank you so much for truly one of the most amazing days I have ever had. I will cherish the look on her face for the rest of my days. I just love this little girl so much. I am just so happy she got to have this day...... I will come back to this blog post in the future hard days to come.

Our car gets shipped tomorrow morning. I am happy it will be waiting for us on the other side. Hopefully with minimal (if any damage). We are taking a chance and packing our vita-mixer and a dirt devil for the floors. I SO hope they make it.... Nothing on the inside can be insured. Thank you so much for all the kind offers for rides and for your cars while we spend the rest of our days here at home. You all are so kind! I think we are covered. If anything changes, I will ask. Promise!   

We are busy packing and getting things organized. The next few days will be SO busy getting ready. Emotionally & physically. If I haven't been good at returning emails, I sincerely apologize. Just so many rolling in this last week home. We love you all and we appreciate all of your love more then words can say! Please continue to pray for all of us. Pray for our family and beyond. For all who suffer. For all who continue to fight this fight. For those who fight on after losing loved ones. Pray for those who have just learned what they are up against. Pray for a cure... 

I promise to get back into my regular blogging pattern once back at St. Jude. Luckily, there hasn't been much to report! 

A few questions I have gotten while being here:

Q: Does Kayla now know she has cancer, or does she still think it's a bump? 
A: Yes. She knows everything. Without giving her fear, she knows. The lack of fear is what I believe helps kids do so well during treatment. She does understand that some kinds of cancer are worse then others. She does understand worst case..... She has to. It's part of what makes her fight on!

Q: How long will Chemo take? When will you be home?
A: We don't know. It depends. She has 4 rounds. She will be in patient Monday-Friday (or longer if there is infection or something else that keeps her from being released). It will take weeks until her counts come back up to "normal" after being released. This depends on her. Her own body. Once her counts get back up, they hit her again and the cycle continues. We have seen people take anywhere from 5 months to a year... it really depends. So we just don't know. This is the hardest part! I am a planner!!! This whole thing has made me totally let go of that completely. It's sometimes a good thing though.

Q: When will you have an address?
A: This depends as well. Our ability to move back into an apartment is all dependent on the availability.  We won't have an actual address until we are back into the Target House. Once we are there, I promise to post our address.

Q: How is Kayla doing?
A: You can see in these pics! She is doing GREAT. We are all holding up. Honestly. We are doing ok because of Kayla. Her spirits keep us all feeling normal.

Q: How is Anthony?
A: Wonderful! That kids was made for us!!! I'm telling you. Nothing phases him. He is happy and thriving having us around him 24-7. It's making us all closer!

Q: When does Kayla start chemo?
A: She gets admitted the 14th in the evening. Chemo starts the 15th. 
Q: When do you all go back?
A: Kayla and Denny fly back early this coming Sunday morning. They have a very busy schedule upon returning. Anthony and I don't have flights booked yet... We contemplated just staying here. NO... JUST KIDDING. We will most likely go back the following Sunday.  

Q: Do you see my comments on the blog?
A: YES. I read them all! Each and every one! If you are anonymous, please say your name at the end (some of you already do this). I have no way of knowing who you are otherwise... and I want to know! :) They help so much to keep us strong. THANK YOU!

Q: Does Denny have enough socks? Does he still knit?
A: Yes, thank you to all of you who sent socks. He is still good on socks! He has given knitting  a rest while being home, but will resume the position in a few days. ;)

I think those are the main questions. Of course, if there are any more you want me to answer, just ask. Chances are I just forgot to post it here. ;) 

We love you ALL. Good night!!!!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I can't sleep

When you first become a parent, you are consumed with what is the right thing to do. What will make your child thrive in this world? What will make you be the parent you have always dreamed a parent should be?  Even if it wasn't planned out, you always try and put all of your best strengths into raising the smartest and healthiest child possible. No one could ever imagine facing the things we are. I thought I could. I thought I was grateful then...

I remember this:

Summer is ending. You buy new backpacks and lunch boxes. Some embroidered with your kids names. Some recycled or re-used. You pack healthy lunches and snacks. You make sure your kids have labeled sweaters or coats. You check that all papers are tucked in their backpacks to make it to where they need to go. You volunteer in classrooms or just drop off at the curb to rush off to work (or home). Maybe you have showered first? Maybe not... and you will do it after. It doesn't matter. Are you involved enough? Are you present enough every day? It's a struggle just to make the bell. It's a routine that we all follow.

When you have kids you sign up for this routine. This routine that is what it is. You sign up for it and you put in the effort assuming it will lead to them trying and hopefully succeeding. Soon, they will be off to college and beyond. You never imagine that before you even have the ball rolling that it might be yanked out before you to lead to a future unknown.  Sure, we all have a future unknown, but "this kind of future" never ever happens to us. We read about these people in papers or hear about them from friends... but it doesn't happen to us... I never thought it would happen to me.

I do know that there is a choice to live. To enjoy what gifts we are given. They are clearer for me now. Brighter. But no different. Maybe if Denny was suffering from allergies last year, I would have let him sleep on the couch. Maybe and probably because it is REALLY annoying (sorry Den) to have him snoring in my face all night...?  It's so sad that it takes something like knowing we will be apart soon to know that our time in one bed is precious enough to just endure it? Even after we get back into the Target House again, it will be our two twin beds pushed together in one room. It's not the same. It's not the same...........

Denny has extreme allergies to weeds and all grasses. I love that he tried to lay on the couch tonight so "I" could get a good nights rest. Last night was one that should have been video taped. I love and appreciate the gesture. The fact is, we only have 8 more nights to sleep in OUR bed together. I will not have him sleep on the couch to sacrifice his time there because of snoring or nose blowing. What ever!!! I am happy to have THIS time together. What ever it is. It's going too quickly and I will be missing this too soon. :(

We have scheduled the arrangement for my car to be shipped out to Memphis. We have decided that Denny and Kayla will fly out together on the 4th. They arrive Sunday at 6pm. They need to be in A/T for labs at 7pm the same night. THEN, they have an MRI at 6:45am the next morning! This repeats with FULL days in the hospital for 3 days... it starts to taper, but you can imagine the tests. We decided that Anthony doesn't need to be dragged to all of this. If all four of us are there, it doesn't really change anything. We will spend the next few days home... wrapping paper work up here at home which is ever daunting. Saying our good byes (For Anthony, this will be to his millions of stuffed animals). It will be a LONG, long time before we are back home kissing every inch of this house again.

Denny and Kayla will pick us up from the airport in Memphis in our car... our car! I know that having this piece of home will be very comforting to us. Hopefully it will make it out in one piece without too many new dings. I would have been happy to drive it, but it's getting up there in age. We wouldn't want to put the miles on it and risk being down to no usable cars. We feel that flat-bed hauling it is the safest way! Luckily, AJ and I will be fine at home the last week without a car since we have so much love here in Novato. We will be able to get around just fine. So, no worries. We will figure it out! Somehow roughing it in Novato seems SO much more do-able!

Kayla continues to THRIVE here. Her color is better. She is more active. She has gained almost 3 lbs. She is sooooo happy. We have some great plans in store for her this week. We are just soaking up every second. It's going WAY too fast.

I have SO many wonderful pictures of the time here at home. SO many. Here were two that just happened to be sent to my phone for easy access without downloading from chips and eliminating cords. This was from today at pioneer park. You can see how happy she is. How much she is THRIVING. Being home is medicine. Anthony is doing great too! Luckily with this age, he is along for the ride. Just make it fun... which we try very hard to continue to do. Thank you to ALL of you who care so much. Who take the time to send prayers our way. We feel them all. I read every single note. I can't thank all of you enough!

With much love, from home......

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


As our time at home comes closer and closer to an end, I find myself in a state of denial and heavy procrastination. I know there are so many things I need to do here still, but I just can't bear the thought that it means we will be leaving soon. I love this town more. I love this house more. I love Trader Joe's more. I love my friends more. I love my neighbors more. I love these sunsets more. I love life more.  We have really enjoyed being home together. I can only hope and pray that this next phase of treatment goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible so we can be back here again.

No cares or worries in the world......... Not TODAY! 
Today will remain in my heart as one of my favorite days ever. These two are my world! <3

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heart felt moments

Tonight I made a very emotional "purchase". Let me explain....

As you are all aware, Kayla started getting sick in September. Denny and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on September 8th of last year. We stayed in. It wasn't exactly what I would have imagined we would be doing 10 years prior. Eating take out at our counter in PJ's, but it actually seemed perfect that night.  There were no gifts. No fancy plans. Just us, sitting in our kitchen. We talked about us. We talked about the kids. Of course we were starting to get worried about Kayla.

Almost two months to the day, we received the devastating and shocking news about our precious and otherwise perfectly healthy seven year old, baby girl. 

Fast forward to now. While home on our way too short "break" I kept thinking about this awesome family monogrammed necklace I saw on one of our nurses from radiation oncology. She told me her husband found it on "Etsy". So, I have been searching and searching. Nothing has popped out in my mind. Tonight I thought I would check again to see if anything grabbed my attention. I have to find the perfect thing.... Tonight, I did.

It wasn't exactly what I expected! It was almost, in a way, better!  If any of you know Denny, you know he is exceptionally bright. He LOVES scrabble. Words with friends was like a girlfriend on the side for him. I'm not kidding. Who ever invented that "app", thanks a lot *insert sarcasm. His name online is Dsqua2ed (2 is the "r"). His name is Denny Dehnert. Ok, you get it. So, I was on Etsy looking for this very special necklace, and found this:

It was just perfect. Denny is the heart of this family. If it weren't for him, I don't know what I would do.  I know he will LOVE that I found this. He will LOVE that I wear it to show him how much HE means to me right now. He is my "rock". I love my family… and if it weren't for him, there would be no "family". 

Denny is honored. He loves it! Score!!! I knew I would find the perfect piece. Thank you Jennifer.

Kayla is still up about 2 lbs.! Thank you Deb Fujiwara for that fudge!!! She LOVES it. It really is insanely good. I think you have magic going on in that kitchen!

Kayla eating Deb's fudge (after saying she didn't think she would like it)

Kayla is spending a LOT of quality time with her special Meow Meow. This never gets old!

Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers. Please pray that time passes by slower for us...

Monday, February 13, 2012

100665 times I felt the love

100665.  That is the number of people who have clicked onto this blog and read my words. 100665 is the number of times that people have thought about Kayla. 100665 is the number of times that people have cared..... I can not tell you in words what that means to me.

(taken 2 or 3 days ago) Dad proving that she is a "tiny morsel"
Since we are talking numbers. Please continue to pray for Kayla's appetite. We were SO happy that she had gained 2 lbs since returning home! Tonight she had lost one of those precious pounds. (If only I could be so lucky!) Could you imagine what I would look like if he tried to pick me up like that? OMG. STOP imagining that!  Phew... Thank you!

Today, Kayla rested on the couch all day. She is starting to feel a little better. We are hopeful for more energy and a big appetite tomorrow.

This morning, Anthony and I went to Good Shepherd to surprise his class with a special visit! They were having their Valentine's Day party. When we arrived, the kids were all getting seated and we quietly snuck him in. They had the special "star student chair", a decorated Valentine's Day bag, and a heart crown waiting for him! I will never forget what a special day this was for him. I know that the group photo we took at the end will be hung on his wall in the Target House for WAY too many months. Here are a few priceless photo's from today. Thank you to Anthony's teachers, Mrs. Beckmann, Mrs. Damato, and Mrs. DeBarros for making today happen.

Karen Beckmann & Anthony <3
Oh how he missed all of his buddies!!!!

What a very special day this was. I will never forget these moments. These are the blog posts I will be referring to soon enough when I need comfort and a reminder of the loving friends we are blessed to have back home! Ok, time to go kick back and enjoy MY COUCH! Thank you all for caring so much. Happy Valentine's Day eve!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Precious Memories

Memories. We can't get over what the past few days have meant to us....

This is where I get into trouble. Me not blogging on a daily! So many thoughts leave me tongue tied! Friday night was the amazing Rose Garden + Auction. Local friends, family, and even people we haven't had a chance to meet yet gathered under one roof to celebrate the life and what is our daughter, Kayla Rose. Our journey...... our fight! One love. We can't thank everyone enough for what was a success beyond what we could have ever even imagined. This community is amazing, loving, and oh so gracious!!! We can't thank you enough. YOU ALL ARE AMAZING.... THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

The four of us went to church this morning. It was absolutely gorgeous out! Blue skies. Green hills. Just breathtaking. When it was time for the children's message, Kayla happily went up. She sat up front with her friends... she just happened to land center stage. The sun was shining through the stained glass windows and making an already beautiful sight even more magnificent. Pastor Hess came and sat down with the kids like he always does. He happily greeted Kayla and made her feel like she was missed. She beamed! I could see her light up! It made my stomach warm and made me get a bit teary knowing how much she had missed being here.  Kayla had told us the week before that she wanted to go to church with us and we had told her that the next time we went she could come. 

When we were on our way she had told us how she was nervous to talk to Pastor Hess, but by the way she beamed at the childrens message and how she answered every question with her radiant smile you would have thought that she had been doing it all her life!  It was such a proud moment telling Pastor, the children, and all in attendance where she had been, what she was going through, and what was soon to be for her.  Pastor didn't even need to ask her anything after a while, she just continued on her own so he handed her over the mike.  She spoke about the banner that the second grade students made her and how it hung up in her room, that it read the words"Get Well Soon Kayla!"  She told us that she didn't really need it anymore, she already was better.  Pastor said that was what Jesus did, that he was a healer and that he was healing her.  She shook her head yes! And My dad heals me too!   He made my neck feel all better by rubbing it till I was healed.  This just made Denny and I melt.  Such a sweet girl.  Pastor mentioned that they had all been thinking about her and praying for her and that she had a lot of people who cared about her at home and were just so happy that she was home finally.  Kayla responded "Yeah, I have a LOT of friends!"  They spoke about praying to god to keep Kayla eating as much as possible and if her parents were helping her with that and if we talked about it.  She said that we made her always eat a lot of calories, but that she likes to eat healthy so it's hard.  She said that if she wanted an apple it was with peanut butter. If she had strawberries, it was with whipped cream.  Pastor said he wanted to come to eat at her house! (Who wouldn't!)  The things we have to force our kids to eat, right?  But the most amazing thing of it was just the way that Kayla took us all in her hands and brought us into her life, so much so that we could FEEL a part of it.  And for her it was effortless.  Kayla is a special girl beyond which words can compare.  She has touched so many without even knowing them, but making them know HER.  It is a gift that few truly possess.  Those that are parents feel lucky to be so, but we feel truly blessed to be Kayla's parents.

Today was a day we will never forget.... ever! 

This afternoon (late)  Kayla developed a cold. Runny nose. Low grade fever. She went to bed early. She will be ok. It just reminds us of her fragile immune system and how we need to guard her even more. No worries, She will remind us. That is Kayla! I will keep you posted. We hope this bug doesn't linger!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Slide Show

Denny and I are so full of love and HOPE..... THANK YOU to all of you for coming out last night to support us and our sweet baby girl! I keep hearing how much fun it was! Once I have pictures, I will post some of them to share. We just can't thank you enough. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!

For now, please enjoy the slideshow that was played during the event last night. I made it with all of my love!!!

Love, Annie, Denny, Kayla & Anthony

Thursday, February 9, 2012

They Come In Three's

Faith. Hope. Love.

But not in that particular order........

Denny and I received news of a very gracious donation to Kayla's fund. I know you want to remain anonymous. You know who you are.... Thank You!

I was in a store trying to return something. The purchase was "before the storm". Of course I lost the receipt! After the woman kept trying and trying she just couldn't find us in the system. She pleaded with me that I must know where this piece of paper is. I told her that my life has been in a little chaotic lately to say the least. I briefly explained our situation. It didn't help with my tiny return... but what I got was priceless! She told me that she sometimes senses things. She was so calm and so matter of fact. I didn't go into detail with her, but the way she said it gave me chills. "She will be fine. This is just a bump in the road. She will be OK"  She got a little teary. I stood there shocked. Then she said, "My mom won't be so lucky". That was all she could utter. I can't help but keep that with me throughout the day. Even now as I type I get chills remembering her eyes and every breath of her words. It did give me hope. I do believe that some people can sense things. It renewed my Hope. I was so grateful for that chance meeting.

Shortly after hope, I encountered another sign. While driving home, we looked up and there sitting on a wire was a beautiful, pure white DOVE. A dove! It was for sure the symbol of Peace and The Holy Spirit.

I know it was all a sign for me to let the thoughts of what "might or could be" GO. Focus on NOW. I knew it would be hard once coming home, but now I feel like I can. It's funny. There are moments where I feel like we all are here and things are normal. Then you look at Kayla and you are somewhat reminded that it wasn't a dream. I am reminded by small things every day to just breathe deep and be grateful!!! Last night as I pulled a load of laundry out of the dryer I was grateful. Grateful that I was able to start that load in the morning. Slowly move it to the dryer at my own pace. Finally pull it out 8 hours later from the dryer. No timers required on my phone. No people waiting in a line behind me waiting for me to move my load. No magnet numbers to stick onto the machines letting people know who's door to bang on if I somehow forget to move it in time. It's just a beautiful thing. Doing laundry in your own machines. Under your own roof. At your own pace. If you can do this, take a moment to be grateful next time. It's amazing all of these little things!!

Oh... an update on Kayla! Right. Sorry! I was so caught up there. Kayla is doing GREAT. She is laughing and having a blast. She is truly soaking all of this up. She is happy to tell people all about what she has been through and what is to come (in her own words). She is still at about 1.5 lbs gained. I can see it in her face! She just looks healthier. I will take some pictures with my good camera soon. There is just a happy glow around her. Maybe that is it! She is calorie consumed and is SO happy when she can sit on a hard surface a little more comfortably. I ask her if she is proud of herself.... Kayla always happily nods. Love her!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Enjoying every second!

What a wonderful time we have been having here at home. I have good news to report! Kayla has gained almost 1.5 lbs!!!! Being home has served her well.

Kayla is SO proud of herself! She is having a blast sleeping in, cuddling with her meow-meow, playing outside, mani-pedi's, going to Tommy's Salsa (almost daily, I might add... only missing one day), and just being a KID! It's been heavenly. :)  We have been so busy in the past while living here.... it's a strange blessing just being able to be home and enjoy it together. I wouldn't wish cancer on my worst enemy, but how many families actually get to do this AND enjoy it?  I am aware of this tiny blessing and I am determined to enjoy every second of it.

Today, I had a few visits with our doctors back home. Friendly and much needed check-ins! Just such a stress-reliever to me to know that we all have a team of doctors back at home ready and willing to help Denny, Anthony and I if we should need it during this next long phase. Where Kayla has her "team of doctors" at SJ, they can't really help us.... Sure, at St. Judes, they can pull out stethoscopes and look in our ears & throats. They can take our BP's even. They have become like family!!! But... they are Kayla's docs. "Legally". So, it's a HUGE stress relief to me to know that we are blessed with medical support from back home. Lord knows my cracked eyelids need it! I am allergic to my own tears! Have you ever heard of it? I hadn't. I actually saw a dermatologist before all of this about it. If I cry and rub, the tears spread on my skin and it becomes inflamed, red and itchy. Now add THAT onto what we are going through. It's one of the things that has kept me up at night. Even with a car, you can feel sort of isolated. You know how long it takes to find a doctor. And to find a GOOD doctor that knows you and that you trust? I don't have time or energy for that type of a search. Plus who knows what that co-pay or office visit might cost! Yikes. Ok, so that is one thing checked off the list. "check". I knew I shouldn't worry. Denny for sure knew. Why don't I have that sense of calm? Well, he doesn't have dry, cracked itchy skin...... and already high blood pressure.  :) *Now.... if Anthony ends up in an ER for a bone injury that is a different story. Lets hope not!

Lets hope that Kayla continues to gain while here. If she keeps this up we are GOOD!!! I am so excited over the momentum. She is doing fantastic! She is even trying to wean herself off of the Zofran (for nausea). This kid is just like me. She hates meds!

Just like any other day.  We will look to these pics longingly soon enough.........

 Lunch at Moylan's!
 She sure does have my feet! Esp. that baby pinky ;)
 Such cutie pies!
 Claire and Kayla
We are soaking up every second........ She will need these photos so much soon! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

There are no words....

Feb. 2, 2012

We are HOME!!! We got in late last night. We walked down OUR stairs. Our house has never looked more beautiful. It even smelled better then I remember. Kayla and Aj were beaming. Kramer (aka meow-meow) came running up to see us. He was very excited. Not as excited as Kayla was to see him! Her Cat!!! It was something I will never ever forget.
Our friend Carolyn, (who I can't even describe in words what she means to me) had decorated the inside of our house to welcome us. It was so heart felt..... She ALSO spent hours upon hours researching calorie rich foods to stock the fridge, pantry and cabinets up with... and STOCKED them for us. THANK YOU CAROLYN!!!  :)

 Taken LATE last night..... I didn't want to sleep. Didn't want to waste a second!!!

Ok, let me back track a little. I am SO sorry to have left you all hanging. We have been so busy getting ready to head home. There are many tests and appointments to get through that left us exhausted. The emotions.... leaving what we have just been through. Thoughts of what we will face. Trying to get our heads ready to enjoy EVERY second of just being home. It will be such a short time here.... I don't want to waste any of it fretting what might happen. How all of this "could" turn out. I just want to enjoy being HOME. It takes a lot of pep-talks...... but we got there. (Mostly!) We also met a few more incredible people on our way out. One who will most likely be there at St. Jude for the remainder of our months there. One who we will only see for two weeks once we return. Please keep 4 year old Peyton and 10 Year old Angel in your prayers. Two more kids who should never have had to know those walls, floors or tables.

On Tuesday, Kayla finished her 31st round of radiation!!! She did it! 

 They gave Kayla her masks to keep... Not sure how I feel about that still. She wants them though. Anyone have suggestions for these morbid things??? Sorry, but they are!

 Holding up her week 8 & END of radiation beads... SO happy! Waiting to see Dr. Pai and say GOOD BYE :)
 We were joking how from the side it looks very "Han Solo"(from Star Wars)

It took a few hours (about 8) to get our stuff that we will need on the next leg into storage. We had to get all of the things we wanted to leave at home crammed into our already packed suitcases. It is hard having to pack up knowing you will need all of this in such a short time! It was hard throwing away SO much food that would have kept just fine in the freezer and fridge. Denny really did try and eat everything up. Yesterday morning after pancakes he ate 3 ice cream snicker bars. He begged for help and no one could do it. So we tossed the last one in the garbage. Because of contamination issues, you can't just give these items to anyone else.  We got checked out of the Target House. All mail that is filtering through will be sent to our home address. Who knows how long that will take though. Sometimes it takes about a week to get regular mail there for some reason.

The four of us took the shuttle to the Airport and off we went. I will have to save up my rental return and TSA stories for my next blog. There really isn't much to report except that we can't stop smiling!!!!!!!! I have never loved my house or my bed more. Kayla said that she just wanted to "relax" this morning and just soak up the house. It was so classic. Soak up the house? She is so funny! Within seconds she was asking for the phone so she could call "the girls". She dialed Carolyn's house and asked for Maggie and Audrey. Within minutes they were here and it was just like old times! What a way to wake up... I will never forget it! Kayla got to ride to school with them to drop them off. They even had some time to play on the playground. Here is Audrey and Kayla:
Kayla realized that her purple chucks no longer fit her anymore so she gave them to Audrey. Audrey... who NEVER wears anything without "bling". (look at the shirt!) She told me after school that she couldn't stop looking at them. She loves them b/c they were Kayla's. SOOO sweet!!! I love this very normal picture. I will cherish it!!!

I spent a good amount of time today (happily) attending to our fish tank. It MISSED me. But it looks BEAUTIFUL!!! Carolyn took notes..... GOD I LOVE HER. How blessed am I to have her only 3 doors down??? 

Now I realize the importance of a before picture. Haha. Can you say green?  
You can still see a hint. After taking out over 50% of the water, soaking Buddha in bleach and adding new plants, I hope our fish make it. It sure looks better... SO not important. Really? SO not important. (but it was a good work out for me... haha)

Later on, as promised, we headed on over to Tommy's Salsa. Kayla ate about a quarter of a little amigo burrito. Our goal by the end of this is to at least have her finishing a whole one! She LOVED every bite.

It was great being back in one of our local hang outs. I couldn't help but tear up. Sometimes I just can't believe I am HOME. We were blessed tonight with a gorgeous sunset after an almost 70 degree sunny day. God gave us that sunset... Even Kayla came running to our window to admire it's beauty. Taking it all in. Sitting here at MY desk. Laying on MY couch. Sleep was like heaven........ No hepa-filter running in the background. No sirens blaring down Poplar Ave. at all hours of the night. No drawers slamming on the other side of the wall. No desk to walk past. I can set the temperature of the house to the exact degree I want. Kitty purring at our feet and jumping on our laps. It's all heaven. I don't want to miss a beat.

This time home will be too quick. Way too quick. SO, with that said, I don't want anyone to worry if I don't blog. Know it's because we are LIVING every moment to it's fullest here while we can. We have a very long and rough patch ahead of us. Hopefully the longest patch ever in our lives. There are no guarantees.... so we just want to soak this up. Selfishly, we NEED to soak this up. We need this to recharge our depleted batteries for what is to come.

Tonight, Anthony and Kayla got visits from their life long buds Megan and Amanda. It was so needed. It's all about recharging batteries. Even though both kids (especially Kayla) are exhausted, it was an amazing night filled with lots of laughter and hugs. Here is Megan watching Kayla get her lines flushed.  Kayla was very proud to show Megan how it all worked.
Buddies since they were 2! 80+ more years to come!!! :)

 Here is Kayla and Denny explaining the process (Kayla is so brave):
"It's ok.... I will show you what it's like to be me for a day"

 Denny has a wonderful way of explaining what does what. Kayla makes it all seem "ok".

 Gotta get the bubbles out...
 Kayla is very PROUD to show her friend how brave she can be!
 Look at Megan and Thal's face here.... I love it. Are you REALLY ok with this??

 When you have no choice.... strong and brave is your only option. CURE CURE CURE!!!

 SO proud of this very brave girl.  Keep fighting Kayla. We love you!

Ok, So... we are home. We are HAPPY! Things are wonderful........... We are IN HEAVEN! If I don't blog. Don't worry. We are living in the glory of this moment. Even if there aren't words, I will try and at least send pictures. Sometimes pictures are worth 1,000 words anyway!!! I think I know now more than ever why I picked Blogger. This is SO me. I am all about the pictures. :)

I tried to capture one or two of Anthony and Amanda, but they were a blur. RUNNING from place to place. Giggling and getting into trouble. Just like normal..... Just like normal!

We love you all....... thank you for sharing in our journey. Thank you for spreading our story. Most of all... thank you for sharing the facts and our NEED for a cure. And I don't mean just for Kayla. I mean for ALL of our children. I never ever thought it would be Kayla. Not her. She is smart and healthy. She is a GOOD girl who everyone loves. It doesn't happen to those kids....... oh wait...... it does.

Spread the word..... the "average" donation to St. Jude is $30. So many of these recognized organizations don't even donate to Pediatric research. They too haven't been affected. That's the only reason why. One example: Relay for life only gives 1%. (relay for LIFE!!!???) I am in the relay for Kayla's life........ Our kids deserve more than that. All cancer research deserves funding... but some don't have the proper endorsements yet. PLEASE please pass this on. That's all I ask. I didn't know either....

With love, from HOME :)