Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blessings from above

I've been taking a break for myself. I started to get sick Wednesday and by Friday I was coughing a lot and I worried whatever bug was in me would make it's way to Tenley. I couldn't let her get even sicker from me not being cautious enough.

Friday started out as a good day. My very best friend Kim came to visit and we gabbed, laughed, enjoyed the food she brought, and Tenley smiled at her as though she was her second mother. Which in a way she is.

My Mom came by as well, and I was still in a cheery mood. Overall we were in good spirits about everything.

Tenley loves to look out the window. She points at the cars, we marvel at the rolling hills covered in fall leaves, the buildings standing tall downtown, and of course I point out the temple to her each time. It's quite the task to move her around that room though. She is hooked up to an I.V. tower with 4 or 5 cords running from her little body and up to this machine. This tower is usually plugged into the wall with an extension cord as well. You can imagine the tangly mess we can get ourselves wrapped into!

As we looked out the window, and traveled back to the crib for diaper changes, then had to get vitals from nurses, then tried to eat some bits of food, that happy cheery mood I had began to dwindle down. I felt so enclosed in this room I'd be spending hours upon hours in. It all became too real thinking of this life we'd be stuck inside. Then I got a cute picture of Taryn that my sister sent me, sitting in the stands at the Olympus football game.

I lost it... totally had a freak out. Here I was finally in Utah with the beautiful mountains I've been aching to be by. For months I have wished so badly I could be with my family... going with them to Oly games, seeing my little sister cheer, eating at Cafe Rio, running to Target with Kim, doing the normal things I love to do.

I'm finally here, but I can't really be here. The realization set in too fast and I had to escape that room before I closed in on myself. Robbie told me to get some fresh air, to go to the game, or just do whatever I wanted to do. I cried the whole way out of the hospital. I wondered what people thought of me, leaving this place like the building was on fire.

I made it to the car and cried so hard. I prayed and cried and prayed with anger and pain. How can I do this Heavenly Father? How can I live in that room? How can I watch my little baby change into this cancer baby? I want to be NORMAL! All I've been wanting was to be here and to live my old life!!! I want to take my kids to McDonalds and not worry about germs every second... I want them to be able to play together and not have all these scary cords hooked to Tenley. How am I going to do this?!?!

My little tantrum made my cold feel so much worse. I calmed down, but my voice sounded hoarse and my head was pounding.

That evening I sat at the computer and read and re-read the messages that so many have left me. I felt a gratitude of love from each and every one. Amy and Connor were playing with Taryn while I sat there coughing and hacking away. My mom called while she was out running some errands and suggested I get a blessing. I had received a blessing from Robbie our first night at the hospital. It was beautiful and comforting, just like blessings always are... but he was there and I was here. It was a Friday night and I knew most of our close friends and family were out. She said, have Connor call his Dad, see if he is home.

He was home, and said the missionaries had just popped in right before we called. My mom walked in the door and we decided to go just the two of us over to the Johnson's home. Doug was dressed in a suit and tie. Of course the missionaries were as well. Those boys were so sweet and listened to our every word as we told them about Taylor and asked where they were from. South Africa, and Seattle. We talked about Tenley and me feeling tired and worn down. While I watched these two young men, I thought of Taylor. I was so happy they were there.

As these three priesthood holders stood tall around me, the one missionary from South Africa anointed healing oil upon my head. As he placed his hands upon my head I felt that power of the priesthood in a way I never have before. It ran through my body and was undeniable the faith this young man had.

Doug gave me a beautiful blessing. It was also powerful and brought peace to my heart. The blessings he offered upon me have made themselves known. They are real blessings from Heavenly Father and I have faith in His words. I know they are true words of God, and all I have to do is accept them.

Before we left the Johnson's, the missionary from South Africa said he wanted to share something with us. He told us that in his patriarchal blessing, it says while he is serving the Lord, his priesthood power will be strong as he blesses those in need. My eyes ran over with tears. I told him I felt that power and how grateful I was that he was there. I'm so grateful that they listened to the promptings of the spirit and came to the Johnson's house that evening. Yet another miracle I have seen in this last week.

So, having my faith rejuvenated, my day off yesterday, getting a lot of vitamin C, and a couple of good night's of sleep, I woke up this morning feeling recharged and ready for this week! I know Heavenly Father is watching over me and will always no matter what.
That is a blessing worth living for.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We Can Do Hard Things

Here I am wide awake. It's almost 5 am. Tonight Robbie took over at Primary's so I could get a good nights sleep. Falling asleep is hard, and so is briefly waking up... all the sudden I remember again why I have this pit in my stomach and my jitters begin to rise. The worrisome thoughts overtake my mind and the tears begin to flow.

I lay next to my sweet four year old wondering how her little mind is processing what is going on. Sweet thing fell asleep with me snuggling her close as she cried because she wanted to watch more of her barbie movie... It was already 11, and I knew she needed her rest too, but my heart hurt as I knew she was also crying for other reasons.

So many people have commented on how much they admire my strength as we start this long road. My friends, that is not my strength. It is yours. Your prayers are like calming medicine to my soul. It is something I find hard to describe. When I feel consumed with anxiety and fear, the moment I say a simple prayer my breathing relaxes, my shaking hands stop, and it is as though I am warmed from the inside out. I know the only reason I am not crying in despair all day long is because of the numerous prayers being offered upon my family and I.
The Holy Ghost delivers them and I feel them, literally feel them.

Yesterday (Thursday) was a good day. Tenley did great throughout the night as her first dose of chemo ran through her little body. As the nurse hooked her up at 10 pm, I didn't know whether to burst into tears, or feel the gratitude of modern day medicine. Such mixed emotions with every single thing.

I want to document the Hard Things we have accomplished so far...

- Hearing the diagnosis.
Very hard... learning the unbelievable is happening to your helpless child was like a slow motion punch to the stomach, but we did it. Slowly, I am adapting to the cancer lingo. The doctors avoided that word along with the "L" word (leukemia) until they were certain. It is becoming easier to say.

- Surgery to receive her picc line (actually is called a Broviak line) as well as getting a spinal tap.
For the doctors this was no big deal, they do it all the time. For us it was a very big deal. It was surgery. The doctors and nurses were kind with their words. One nurse as she was describing the procedure said, "so she is just getting a line in..." She then corrected herself and said, "I am so sorry, it is not a just to you... I understand it is a big deal, and sometimes we forget that because we see it done all the time." As they gave Tenley some medicine to make her sleepy before they took her into the O.R., I told her to be brave and that even though Mommy and Daddy couldn't be with her, Grandpa and other angels would be right by her side. Brave she was... she did great and hasn't bothered with her new little cords.

- First round of chemo.
I stayed the night with her and she slept so well. The nurse had to add some new routines to checking her vitals. Eye drops, and diaper changes every 3-4 hours. As well as the regular checking her temperature, listening to her heart, and getting her blood pressure. Diaper changes are now a little more work.... gloves on, cotton balls added, ointment, and of course the diaper itself. I feel it has been such a blessing that she has been sleeping so well. She hasn't ever been the best sleeper, and I can usually count on her waking up once or twice a night for a bottle. Since being admitted that hasn't been the case. It could just be because she really is tired, but I know her angels are helping her get the rest she needs.

These three Hard Things I can now check of our list! I know we will have many more along the way, but through prayers, scriptures, love, laughter, and most importantly through Him...
We Can Do Hard Things.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The latest..

This is Lisa.. Shawna's sister. Shawna will be updating her blog probably in the next few days. In the meantime, I figured I could give everyone the update so Shawna doesn't have to worry about keeping everyone in the know. She and Robbie are incredibly grateful for all of your texts/emails/phone calls/messages, and can't respond to everyone like she wants to! Tenley Jane just wants to be held by her mama, and that is what Shawna wants to be doing anyway...

Tenley had her surgery yesterday to put the PICC line in. This is to administer all the chemo and any other drugs she needs. Shawna said Tenley handles it much better than the IV in her little hand. She didn't like that at all... Because she was doing so well, Tenley started Chemo last night. Day 1 of 10. She did really well through the 6 hour process. She never got nauseous, and then slept pretty well. The Docs and Nurses were in and out of her room all night to check her vitals and diapers. Shawna said Tenley is being her cute self and snuggling with her mama constantly. Keep all of them in your prayers! Thanks for your support. We feel the prayers lifting us up!

To buy a Tenley Rally Band to show your support, go to and click on store. I also have some on hand at my house if anyone wants to come and buy them directly for me! Remember the proceeds go toward this darling family!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beautiful Heartbreak

I just had to share this before I went to bed. I just went to "time out for women" two weeks ago where Hilary Weeks spoke and sang this and other beautiful songs. These words have new meaning now... Tears and more tears come as I listen to her words.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Starting over with faith

And now as I said concerning faith - faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
Alma 32:21

So here we are again. Facing a mountain that seems impossible to climb. The ache in my heart has reappeared and I am constantly forcing it away with faith and prayer.

Oh my sweet baby girl... so many emotions are flooding through me. I cannot stop feeling an abundance of gratitude for being here, at home, with our family and friends and all who are familiar to us. What a blessing. Actually a miracle. I know without a doubt Robbie's grandma made sure her leaving this earth would bring us here for this time and purpose. I am ever so grateful to her.

Little miss Tenley started off the week on a whiny note. Sunday night (October 16th) she hardly slept a wink. I blamed it on teething. There was no fever, no sign of anything really... just a hard nights sleep. Of course the next day was full of whines and whimpers. I assumed it would be that way with the lack of sleep the night before. All she wanted was for me to hold her.... but in between whining and holding, I was trying to pack for our trip to Utah.

Tuesday morning, packed up the car and had everything ready for our flight. I saved waking Tenley up for last, and hurriedly got her dressed and packed into her car seat. We made it to the airport and caught our flight. Soon after making it to my Mom's house, I put Tenley down for a nap. She slept really well, and when she woke up it was time to get ready for the viewing.
All evening she wanted me to hold her. Every time I tried to set her down with the other kids she cried and reached her arms up at me. I thought maybe her shoes were too tight and that's what was bugging her.

Wednesday morning Robbie, Taryn, and I headed out early for the funeral. My sister Lisa came to watch Tenley for the day. We had kind of joked the night before saying Tenley had a broken leg, and as I texted her a couple hours later asking, "how is Tenley's broken leg?" She replied by saying, "no really... something is seriously wrong." I felt nervous and wondered what was really going on. As the day went on I kept getting texts from Lisa who was giving Tenley an in depth exam... She won't put any pressure on it... She doesn't really react when I squeeze her leg and foot...look, she's just sitting here and won't move...Yep, it's definitely her right leg.

As we made our way home in the late afternoon I met my Mom and my sister Amy at Instacare. My mom insisted she be checked out. I was glad she did... I needed peace of mind. As the doctor examined her his first concern was a sceptic hip. After making some calls to Primary's, he leaned more to the idea of her most recent virus settling into her hip joints. He told us to give her Motrin every 4 hours and then have her checked again in a day or two.

The Motrin helped. A lot. She slept through the night Wednesday and Thursday and was walking around acting like her normal self. I thought we were in the clear and all was well. Even though I had made an appointment to see our regular pediatrician Friday morning, I forgot because Tenley seemed fine and we were busy doing Utah fall things....

Saturday we stayed busy too... running errands to Target, getting food for Robbie's birthday dinner, and going to the zoo. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She still seemed upset if I tried putting her down, so there was not much walking. I knew she should still be checked out one more time to be certain, so we called our pediatrican who luckily lives nearby and took Tenley to his house. Overall she looked alright. He had her walk from my mom to me and checked her legs. He felt the same way as the Instacare doc. Just that lingering virus bothering her joints. Then he said he wasn't concerned about it, and by next week she should be fine.

Saturday night we were back to the all nighter. Tenley was a wreck, and this time she would not straighten out her legs. She just wanted to be held close and tight... and whimpered at any movement. I knew something was really wrong and was more confused than ever. That morning we tried the Motrin, but nothing helped. I called our peditrician and told him what was going on and asked his advice if we take our flight home that left that night at 7 or stay and see what this could possibly be while we were near family and friends. He decided to send us to Primary's for an ultrasound of Tenleys hips, as well as some blood work.

The ultrasound showed some fluid in her right hip, but the blood tests were the main concern. Everything came back low. Abnormally low. Low white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, all of it. The only thing that was high were her lymphocytes. The pediatrician called me and after trying to break the news to me softly, he said he was worried it could quite possibly be leukemia.


I fell to the ground as I heard that word. Literally fell and couldn't breathe. How was this possible? My family was getting ready for Robbie's birthday feast and I came sobbing in from outside with this heartbreaking news. We all cried. Cried the way we did two years ago. My fresh scars had been torn open.

So here we are... after going into the ER, getting more blood drawn, more xrays, getting admitted, more doctors, more tests, more questions, more heartache.

Yet, I feel the peace and reassurance that all will be ok. Tenley will be fine. These words came from angels. Tenley is my angel. We were so desperate for a miracle two years ago, prayed for one fervently... as my Dad's life on earth came to an end, my new little girl's was just beginning. She knows my Dad in ways we do not. I made him promise me as we said our goodbye's that final night, that this baby of mine would be healthy and strong.

I know that promise will not fail. I have such stronger faith through the trial of losing my Dad. The Lord does give us miracles.... and now is the time for ours.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Something Spooky is lurking...

Just thought I'd post our most scary Halloween decoration...

Oh, did you want a closer look?
Yup, that's a real life spider Robbie and Taryn found when I was out doing errands.

And guess what. Robbie LEFT. IT. THERE!!!!
What the heck! Who does that?!?! Gives me major heeby jeeby's

Guess what else...
We are heading to UT on Tuesday! Not for the best of circumstances... Robbie's grandma passed away. She was 91 and had lived a long, full, beautiful life. So I think the whole family is comforted with her going "home."

We will be celebrating her life with his family, and then spending the rest of the week enjoying the wonderful fall weather there :)

Oh... and also celebrating my main squeezes day of birth!!
Happy 31 years Robbie!!
I Love You SOOOOO Much.... and I'm sure glad your grandma took your family in at a time of need, cause without that great service I probably wouldn't have met YOU!

Monday, October 10, 2011

rockin pumpkins and yummy spiders!!

We have made some really fun friends here in Sparks
A couple of girls Taryn adores are Lilly and London. I have to say they (and their mama) are pretty awesome!

We've had them over to play a lot lately, so one day to keep them busy I decided to have them make a fun little Halloween craft. We have a million rocks in our backyard, so we decided to turn some of those rocks into pumpkins! I already had everything we needed... and they thought it was the coolest thing ever!

having fun painting, and being silly.

the finished product!
We sprayed them with gold pray paint, glued on googly eyes, buttons, and sparkly jewels for earrings.

Rachel (their mom) asked me to trim up the girls hair if I could - well of course I could! I have to say I did the cutest cut on her little one London... Honestly, I couldn't get over how adorable it looked.

I love little girl bobs!

and of course Lilly looked darling too with a fresh new trim!
I honestly LOVE to do hair and make girls of all ages feel beautiful!

Last week we got "Boo'd"
We were in the middle of eating dinner and someone knocked on the door. Taryn jumped up to see who was there, opened the door and said, "What the Heck?!" then squealed and kept saying, "What the heck Mom! What the HECK! Who left these treats for us?!"

I told her we now get to do the same thing for some of her friends! She couldn't wait to surprise them and kept reminding me we had to wait for night time to do it.

We decided to make some cute spider cupcakes. Taryn could hardly wait to make them. She had school the next morning and told her teacher all about the "boo" and the spider cupcakes we were going to make.
I love making holidays exciting and getting in the spirit of the season!

All you need to make these guys....

This one loves to help me in the kitchen

cute right?!

Yay for Halloween fun!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Starting school

First day of school.
New town, new teacher, and of course a new backpack!

Check out how excited she is! (mostly because of her new "packpack")

I am so proud of how well Taryn is doing in preschool. She has learned how to write out her name, and does it constantly! I'm so glad that she enjoys school and jumps out of the car each morning telling me she can walk up by herself... then yells, "Bye Mom... I love you!"

Tenley wasn't as thrilled for her to leave on her first day... which is funny because we've had many days when Taryn will go play with a friend and I get to spend some quality time with just Tenley.... but this day she was not happy to see her go.

Taryn reassured her by saying, "It's ok Tenley, I'll be back soon! I love you!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Capturing the moment

Tenley - 18 months

I just looked back on this and can't believe how fast time has gone since Taryn was this age.
Taryn and Tenley are such different girls. It's pretty funny how opposite they actually are.

This little girl loves to make us laugh. I am seriously considering recording dinner time, and all the laughs we have. Tenley has this silly trick where she sticks her fingers into her eyes, like literally shoves them into her eye sockets and just sits there until we all crack up. She looks like a crazy harry potter creature or something when she does it.

Tenley loves food and if she's being a whiner, giving her a snack is an easy solution.
Her favorite foods right now are just about everything. She has this weird obsession with begging me to open the pantry and picking out a lifesaver wintergreen mint. She LOVES those. I usually chomp it up so it's not so choke-able, then feed it to her like a mama bird feeds her babies. Pretty sick, but it's her fav.

Anything Taryn is doing Tenley will follow. I can usually count to 5 before there is some screaming involved. Let's just say Taryn likes her "things" the way they are.... and Tenley likes to destroy whatever things Taryn is playing with at the moment. It's an on going battle at our house... but we somehow make it work.

Tenley could care less about TV... still. I know that's a good thing, but really I would love to have both my girls sit together and watch a little show while I get some stuff done without someone on my heel. hahaha. Tenley loves to be on my heels, she would be glued to me if it were possible.

Her hair is growing like a wild weed. I love it, so different from Taryn's little sprouty hair. I've decided bangs are her thing. They fit her personality like a glove. My blonde, bang, piggy tail girl. Right now my favorite do on her is little piggy knots. One of these days I'll get her to hold still long enough to get a good shot.

She loves to be outside. Playing in the backyard, coloring with chalk, and sitting on her favorite little chairs. (pictured above) She cries every time I open and close the backdoor to let Lexi out and she's not going along with her.

Lucky for me she still loves a good snuggle. She will nuzzle right into my shoulder and in that moment, the world is perfect... for both of us.

She doesn't really care for talking. The one thing she says repeatedly is, "what's that??" I'm always answering to, "what's that?" - an airplane, a sign, a light, the toaster, a guy... hahaha... it never ends. The other words she knows are Mama, Dada, Daya (Taryn), uh-oh, and Lisa.
Yup, she knows Lisa!

We are really working on saying or signing please and thank you. Most of the time Tenley just screeches at me to get whatever she wants. Even Taryn knows Tenley has to sign please (rubbing her chest) before we give in. She usually does the sign for more, and she will find the baby signing time DVD and bring it to me, then rock her arms back and forth like she's rocking a baby. Even if I turn the show on, she never actually watches it. I guess she's picking up a few things though! Still doesn't compare to how obsessed Taryn was with those shows.

She loves nursery and so far hasn't been sad when we drop her off. I think she just looks around the whole time thinking, ok so what am I suppose to do now? She does love snack time the most.

I can't believe turning 2 is just around the corner. I wish time could stand still!! I really love the ages my kids are right now. I know as time goes on life is only going to get busier and more challenging... so I'm trying my best everyday to really enjoy it all, small and simple while it lasts.

I love you Tenley Jane!
Every little piece of you!