On June 12, I received the most amazing news.  Enough time has passed with continued positive results that I want to share this with the world.

I am almost afraid to post this for fear of waking up from a dream. I can only describe this as answered prayers! 


Dad has been improving since he started this new medication, but I was afraid it was a superfluous improvement caused by masking the symptoms and making him feel better but not actually be better in any marked way. 


His oncologist, who six years ago told him to get his affairs in order, told him today that he has never seen this medication work so effectively and so fast, that less than 3% of the people treated with that medication experience noticeable results the first week. It is a new treatment, just approved in November of last year. The doctors exact words were "I have some bad news to deliver. Unfortunately you now have a greater chance of dying of something else because the cancer is no longer going to kill you. I've never seen anything work so well so fast." 


It hasn't sunk in yet. The last few months I thought for sure I knew what a terminal illness looked like. Between May and June he lost nearly 100 lbs.  His skin was nearly transparent..but I think now, instead of knowing what a terminal illness looks like, instead I know what a miracle looks like.  Thank you all for your prayers, and thank you God!



Dad gets to live - even the Dogs are smiling about it!

Reading BabyCenter.com's milestones for 3-year-olds makes me feel like an awesome mother. There is particular emphasis on being mindful of what your kids see or hear and to watch for signs of working out those things through play. My son pretends to talk to the Mayor on the phone, or practices being a pastor, he pretends to be an astronaut; he pretends to be a doctor. He practices having parties and plays at mowing the lawn.

Hurray, he's well adjusted! Even though this may seem like a no-brainer, there are certain times as a parent when you're just sure you're screwing it all up. When, for example, your child has gone through 5 pairs of glasses in 1 year you finally give in and tell him that if he doesn't wear his glasses he may have to have surgery on his eyes and that means the doctor is going to take a very sharp knife and cut into his eyeball and if he doesn't want that to happen he'd better start wearing his glasses instead of hiding them or breaking them. Or, just off the top of my head, you've had enough of his shenanigans and tell him that you're going to put him up for sale on BlackMarketBaby.com where some South American land owner will buy him and send him to be a slave in the gem mines of Brazil where he won’t be allowed to have a blankie and Santa can't visit because there's no snow in Brazil.

Trust me, when these threats were made, there was conviction behind them. These were no idle threats. These ultimatums were delivered with all the force and vehemence of a good old fashioned fire and brimstone sermon. There was red faced, fist pounding authority behind them. The kind that when you look back after your blood pressure has dropped to an acceptable level, you think...man...I wonder how many years in therapy that one is going to cost me...It’s nice to have the opposite feeling from time to time. To read a little parenting article and think to yourself, I'm doing alright.


I was in the backyard pushing Zander on the swing while Chris was doing Chris things with a hatchet and trees. I start talking to Chris when I hear a very stern voice.

Z: Mumma! Sssh! You can't talk! Church is about to start!

Some time passes when I answer a question from Chris.

Z: Mumma!!! Be quiet! The guy gonna get up there and start talkin'! You don't talk when he talks!

Some more time passes and again, Chris and I attempt to talk.

Z: Mumma!!!!! Hush your mouth! Its time to sing now!

Zander begins to sing "This Little Light of Mine" and I join in.

Z: MUMMA!!!!!!! You repeat after me! This is a very important song! You be quiet and listen!!!

Done with the yardwork for now, Chris joins us at the swings.

Z: Today, I three years old. Tomorrow I will be Cath-uh-lick

Chris: You don't have nearly enough guilt to be Catholic

Z: Mom! Dad! Be QUIET! I have important things to say! I. AM. The Center. Of. The World.



Three. Amazing. When did we get here, kid? When did you go from being my sweet little baby to my sweet little boy? Part of me gasps with relief…The rest of me wants to hold on to you with everything in me and say “Stop! Slow down! Don’t grow up quite so fast!” But growing up you are. You went from knowing words to telling me stories and singing me songs. You amaze me every single day.

You are so funny! You had your father and I in stitches last weekend when you stomped down the stairs like a giant saying “Fe, fi, fo, fum, I smell a puppy’s bum!” You tell jokes now too. Sometimes they’re incredibly inappropriate, yet you still crack me up. We taught you anatomy this year because you were so completely curious about the differences between boys and girls. It was either that or let you continue to reason things out on your own and come to the wrong conclusions (like bras were special mommy pockets—your term-- for storing things like crayons, and a really great place to warm up hands that have come in from the cold).

The fact that boys and girls have different tid-bits and what-nots blew your mind. How could this be? And is it EVERY girl or just some of them? And not only that, but pets have boy parts and girl parts too! You had to tell everyone who came through the front door that puppy had nipples and a gina. And even though you knew that daddy has boy parts, not girl parts, when he tripped over the baby gate and hurt himself you made your first naughty joke, “You OK, Daddy? You hurt your gina?” and while Chris and I were still trying to figure out if you knew what you were saying, you slid off your rocking chair laughing so at your own joke.

Yes, boy parts and girl parts have had a big impact on you this year. In terms of drawing, you didn’t really progress beyond squiggles, wiggles, and French fries until you were almost three. Then one day, you came down from a nap, plunked yourself on the floor in the office, drew a picture and said “Look, Daddy, a monster with tall legs!” And amazingly enough, it was a monster, complete with circles for eyes and a straight line for a mouth, and long legs. Your dad and I were amazed since you’d never drawn anything like it before and asked you to draw another one. You politely refused and said “I’m going to draw this instead.”

When you were done drawing, you showed us your picture. “Is that a monster?” we asked, a little disappointed that it looked nothing like the first picture, but none the less ready to dole out the praise. “Nope, it’s a lil boy poopin…see his pink part?” And it was a remarkably accurate drawing of the male anatomy. I gave your father a pleading look not to laugh, and he managed to hold it together until after you left the room. He was very proud of you. Although I was also suitably impressed, I had visions of explaining to you that some things we should save to draw at home and not in church. Why would that be an issue? Well, some of the things I’ve had to say in church this year include “Yee-haw, honey (not Ji’had)” or “Ocean, Z, it’s Oh-SHIN.” And my favorite “Truck, honey…with a T. Ttttuuurrrrrrrrr-uck.”

Speaking of church…this whole religion thing has been kind of difficult for you to grasp. We go to church and we sing songs. That’s fun, right? Then this guy stands up there and talks, and that’s kind of boring, and also the best time to get mom’s attention since I’m not busy singing. But then Christmas rolls around…and there’s this magic guy who can apparently spy on you to know if you’ve been naughty or nice…kinda like Jesus… and well, we sing songs about him too…and you’ve seen him, a couple of times, actually, at the mall, at the grocery store, at the unit where Daddy drills. I mean, you can’t really miss him, he’s there in a big red suit…and then Christmas day rolls around and he left you these AWESOME gifts! Is it any wonder that when the sirens go off and you say “Say a prayer, mumma, say a prayer so that those little guys don’t gunna get hurt.” And I do, and I end it with “in Jesus name we pray.” Your reaction is an immediate and enthusiastic fit because I’m praying to the worng deity…again… “Nooo! Ask SANTA! Not Jesus, ask SAAAAAAANNNNNNNTTTAAAAAA!”

I think you’ve finally given up chiming in “And Santa” at the end of bedtime prayers. You also gave up your crib and most of your afternoon naps. This has made things difficult between us sometimes. You see, you still really need a nap, you just don’t want to take one. As a result, you will go from happy to apoplectic toddler sized tantrum-seizures in less than ten seconds. I’m still trying to figure out how to cope with those.

You used to crawl into bed with me every morning when you woke up. Now, you stop at my bedroom door long enough to close it (in a way that you think is quiet and sneaky because, honestly, I’m just pretending to be asleep because I love watching you try out your different stealth tactics). You trundle down the hall and spend a few moments unsupervised…a prospect that terrifies everyone who knows you.

Unsupervised is not a state you should be in right now. One memorable occasion when I thought you were playing quietly upstairs in your bedroom, you were actually dismantling the vacuum cleaner just to see how it worked. I have learned that it takes you less than 10 minutes to create an Alice in Wonderland pile of throw pillows, toys, and couch cushions to make your way over the baby gate to the kitchen where you can monkey climb up the pull out drawers to the counter and put DVDs in the toaster to watch them melt. Watching fire safety videos only seems to be effective for about a week.

You’ve “cooked” breakfast for the cats which included dish soap in their water dish and flour in their food bowl. You cannot pass a dishwasher without pushing the start button in much the same way you cannot be out in public without wanting to use every bathroom…several times…just to make sure it works the same as. “See, it has a drain, mumma. There’s a toilet and a sink, mumma. Will the roll-it paper (toilet paper) go down the drain? Will that toilet get broken?”

Ah, yes…the amount of things you have flushed down the toilet to see what will flush and what will not has kept me on my toes all year. Cardboard, toilet paper, bottle caps, and shampoo all flush. Shampoo is the most fun because it will suds up. Rubber duckies will not flush. But, while mom is in the shower, you can climb into the kitchen, steal the soup ladel, then make chicken soup in the toilet using rubber ducks and shampoo. You will line your rubber ducks up, tell them they are in time out for peeping in the bathtub (going potty), then ask them which one is going to make chicken soup. You play so well by yourself and with other children.

You have a surprising amount of friends for a child who doesn’t go to daycare. There were 11 children at your birthday party and we had three of your friends that weren’t even able to make it. The part that your father and I get a kick out of is that every single girl you spend time with is blonde! Even Grandpa has noticed that you gravitate toward the toe-heads.

Grandpa is still one of your best friends. And I am so thankful for the time you’ve been able to spend with him. A year ago at this time…well, things seemed far less certain. It’s been nothing short of a miracle that has kept him in our lives. You are so lucky to be able to go on tractor rides with Grandpa and help make cakes with Grandma. I will never forget that overwhelming joy and gratitude I felt watching you catch lightning bugs in jelly jars with Grandma and picking wild blackberries with Grandpa last summer. You and Grandpa walk all around the yard checking on the status of things. Wild mulberries and blackberries growing at the edge of the property line. Pumpkins growing in the garden. Flowers, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, sweet corn, Grandpa and Grandma have shown you the miracle of how things grow from the soil and then feed our bodies so we can grow big and strong.

This year, you have your own garden. It’s a little corner of Grandpa’s, but you’ve already planted radishes in it. You helped transplant the tomatoes into bigger pots, and the sunflowers too. You’re not the most delicate yet, but you are far less ham-fisted than you were last year. You have so much love for all things, plants, animals, music, books. You would still rather be read to than watch TV. I could go on for fifty more pages recounting all the amazing things you’ve done. Instead, I’ll end here with a list of your favorites.

Song: You call it the Big Bang song. The rest of us call it “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt. You will listen to it as many times as I will play it for you and still cry when after 30 minutes I’ve had enough and play something else.

Book: Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss. I’m glad you like it, but I hope you find a new book to like soon because both your father and I have a terrible time reading that book.

Game: You like to “cook” with your play kitchen. You like to play musical instruments. You have empty paper towel rolls and candle holders that you have made into your trumpets. You have a recorder that was possible the worst decision I could have made since it causes me no end of ear splitting headaches, but you call it your flute or your whistle and you love it. You have turned many pots and storage containers into drums and beat on them with wooden spoons, but Auntie Michelle finally bought you a real one (bless her) and you love it. And your klanger-banger that you’ve had since you were six months old (piano/xylophone).

Activity: You much prefer gymnastics over church and playground. I think specifically, the trampoline.

Food: Dora or Scooby snacks. You don’t really have a favorite meal. You’ve been known to ask for spinach salads and yogurt for dinner as well as hot dogs and macaroni. You try most foods and you like most foods unless they have a funny texture. You’re not a fan of shrimp and you’re not a fan of squash soup. So far, those are the only two foods you will not eat.

Movie: Toy Story 3. When you first got your glasses, that movie came out in 3D. I took you to the theater to show you that everybody wears glasses and it’s really cool. You went on to break 4 pairs of glasses, once completely beyond repair, and lost two pairs entirely. The number of money and time we’ve spent at the optometrist’s this year is probably enough to cover one semester of college. Remember that when you spend your tuition money on beer instead. Also Harry Potter. You love harry Potter almost as much as “Light Buzz Year” and Woody.

You’re really starting to get this human thing figured out. You’ve moved from not quite a baby, yet not quite a child, into a full blown little boy. You’re a real little person now. You express your emotions, your fears, your wishes. You show love and compassion along with mischief and curiosity. I can’t wait to see what Three will bring.

Abby pushed a stray lock of thick black hair behind her ear. The rest stayed securely in its pony tail. She looked out of almond shaped eyes from under a heavy fringe of bangs at the place she would call home for the next four weeks. The Zoeng Wing of Luna City had a pleasant mezzanine gallery from which to view two of the other six wings of the complex and the entire southern expanse of Maria Tranquillitas. Most important to Abby, as she made her way through the crowd of gawkers, workers, scientists, and tourists, to the front of the gallery, was that in exactly two minutes she would see her very first earthrise.

The view out the massive floor to ceiling transparent wall showed the Arthur Annex and the Kapur Wing extended at sixty degrees like giant white tubular arms ending in bubbled domes of reflected gold. Abby never let the significance of a moment pass and to her, the archaic and efficient architecture looked welcoming; outstretched as if to embrace the Earth, or the future, or progress, or maybe all three of these. Well, at least Zoeng Corporation’s version of them. Also viewable, though not as close was an entirely different looking building. One whose graceful spire and delicate seashell fractals made Luna City look clumsy and overbearing by comparison.

Independent of any corporate conglomerates or government pacts, the pristinely elegant spire of St. Ignas Monastic Retreat’s cathedral Prima de Luna, jutted out of the rock face a kilometer or so away from the complex. Abby could just make out the words Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam gleaming a bronze that would never tarnish in the sunlight and arched around what looked like a large stained glass window. It looked like a stained glass window if you only glanced at it, but upon closer inspection you could see the fluidity and organic motion of the solar winds ionizing on the surface of the entrance. Unlike Luna City’s brute force method of keeping its population safe behind layers of protective tiles and plates, Prima de Luna employed the more modern magnetic shields that were unavailable at the time of Lunar City’s construction. The result was stunning. Like God’s breath fogging up glass church doors, creating its own celestial aurora. Off over the horizon, a half sphere of marbled blue and white and brown was just resting over the tip of the cathedral.

Earthrise didn’t happen like a sunrise back home. The moon rotated at a much slower rate than the earth and therefore always kept one side facing home. A constant vigil, watching ice ages, the come and go of dinosaurs, the rise and fall of empires, and humanity spring forth on tiny flickering candles they called rockets. It cared not whether you were on time for work or who was elected to office. It was here, where it had always been in humanities memory, still relatively pristine even as the creeping fingers of progress clawed their way across the surface.

There was no magnificent fiery ball peeking up over the horizon slowly climbing higher in the sky. For all it appeared from Abby’s perspective, the moon stood still while the Earth spun like a gigantic slow top. Earthrise was the slow crawl of the terminator as the earth moved during it’s natural rotation…and this was the first time she would watch the sun’s light creep over her home from the other side.

Abby’s fingers curled around the guard rail as she tamped down a little crescendo of excitement. She was here, watching the earthrise. Watching earthrise! She made it. Incomprehensible that she should be here, yet here she definitely was, gazing at things she’d only seen in documentaries. For the first time in her life, she was off Terra Firma and staring back at it.

Had an amazing dream Friday afternoon after I got off the phone with Rick Amato. I dreamed that there were two women, an older one and a younger one, there was a mother/daughter type of relationship between them though I don’t know if they were really mother and daughter. They had been living with two bad men, trapped with them, unable to get them out of their lives. Finally the police arrested them and the women were overjoyed because they were free of the men at last. But the other people in the town we lived in (which happened to be Wyoming) ostracized them. They wouldn’t even talk to the women because the bad men’s reputation was a stigma to them.

I walked up to them and embraced them. At that moment, a swat team with faces fully covered in some sort of futuristic gas mask thing, started repelling down from the above along with long black garbage bags being dropped from helicopters. They grabbed us and at first I thought we were in some kind of trouble but they were escorting us off the property so the house could be sprayed for insects and decontaminated. It wasn't safe to be around that house anymore, though I got the distinct impression that it was meant to get the women away from their previous lives of being trapped with bad men.

I invited the two women back to my house. I was nervous about what the neighbors would say but they had no where to go. My house was also covered in this circus tent of black garbage bags. I was surprised because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my house. When I moved the flap aside to get to my front door, I also invited my next door neighbors in, Peter, Meagan, and the two girls. They didn't mind at all that these two women were with me. The kids rushed into the house and I was nervous that all the fumes from the fumigation hadn’t cleared yet since there was still a big trash bag over my house…but when I looked in my home, it had been completely remodeled!

The floors were all tile in richly gradient squares of granite. I walked through the split-level entrance of house to this sort of court yard in the back yard. Everything about this house said comfort and maybe not luxury like the rich and famous, but luxury to me! There was an elaborately shaped pool with Jacuzzi and “waterfall”. There pool was partially shaded by a faux roof (like what a car port might look like, except this was done in wood and bamboo with palm leaves for the roof). There was a walking out area from the house where a stone half circle contained a grill and a bar. Thenthere were twosteps down that lead to the multi tiered pool.

The children were chasing each other around the pool. My husband and sister were there along with her husband and son. I couldn’t believe this was my house. My husband gave me a big hug and told me that it was really our house. I had this overwhelming feeling of joy and love and not exactly euphoria but definitely bliss.

I know I haven’t been easy to live with the last few weeks. It was so scary for you when I went to the hospital. It was so scary for you to see all those people around me and all those tubes and wires hooked up to me. I’m sorry you had to see me like that.

I know my mommy patience has been non-existent lately. And I know you don’t understand anything about hormone levels, or post-partum blues, or even really understand that there was a baby in my belly that was going to be your little brother and now there’s not. So I know it scares you a little when I get angry at you for just doing the normal stuff you do…or cry because you won’t let me put on your shoes. I know you have been very confused and frustrated because of all this and I’m so sorry.

I just want you to remember one thing when you’re older, and telling your therapist about this time in your life. While we were at the park on 4th of July and I felt that initial explosion of pain…I suspected right away what had happened. Then, while we were in the car waiting for the rain to stop, I was pretty sure I knew what had happened. I knew I should have your daddy take me to the hospital right then and there. Instead, I made him take me to Grandma and Grandpas, and then promise that he would take you back to the park to watch the fireworks.

I especially didn’t want you to miss that experience. You have never missed a celebration from the time you were born, and now that you’re old enough to remember them, I did not want to take it away from you. I wanted you to see the sky bright with glowing sparkles. I wanted you to remember the smell of Legion popcorn and the sour sweet taste of 4-H lemonade.

Things are rough right now kiddo and I feel terrible about it. Two is hard enough without all this additional scary stuff…but hang in there. It’ll get better. I promise.

About this blog

It is always the way; words will answer as long as it is only a person's neighbor who is in trouble, but when that person gets into trouble himself, it is time that the King rise up and do something.
- Personal Reflections of Joan of Arc
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Zander Zone

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