Monday, October 5, 2015

Light the Night!

If you're free this Saturday evening, October 10th, we would love for you to help us Light the Night, in honor of Caleb, at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Walk in Houston. 

Red, yellow, and white lanterns determine whether you're honoring an angel, fighter, or survivor of the disease! is our page - then if you'd like to join us: 
1.  Click on the Red "View Team Page" button (right side)
2.  At the bottom of the Team Page - click on "Join Team" 

It will be a magical evening and we'll light up NRG Park! 
It kicks-off at 6pm.  I am the Emcee, but I'm also going to try to sneak in a little walking.  It's 2 miles, but walkers can do 2 steps... it doesn't matter... it's mostly about comradery.  

You don't have to pay anything to join, but donations are welcome.  A donation of $100 grants you access to a t-shirt, lantern, and food at the walk.  Friends/families/colleagues/neighbors can "sponsor" you to walk.  That would be something as simple as putting a money can on your desk for donations.  All of the proceeds go toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  

Can't wait to light the night!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

No two ways about it...

 Two years of cancer treatments down... less than two years to go, and no two ways about it... Caleb refuses to let leukemia slow him down! 
We got surprising news at Texas Children's Hospital yesterday!  Even though Caleb's chemo dosage was increased last month, his numbers shot even higher this month.  (not good).  There's no reasoning behind it, but his chemotherapy must be adjusted to make up for it, so now, he's on a MUCH higher dose.
While it took a few weeks for Caleb to adjust last time, we know he'll do the same this time! He had to come home early from school today after feeling really weak.  

Now Caleb is up to 17 pills at a time.  That's tough for him to swallow.  Can't wait 'til Cal's bedtime routine only consists of brushing teeth and snuggling up with a good book!

I woke up to an interesting sticky note from Caleb this morn.  He watches me do a lot of social media for my job, so he left me an idea for the most unusual hashtag ever.  He thought this would be interesting to "tweet"!  :) 

I don't think he was thrilled when he wrote it, thus the messy writing, but Caleb wants to invent a GOOD TASTING liquid medicine, to help other kids fighting cancer, too.  That sure would be a blessing!  Who knows... maybe drug makers would "take note" of his hashtag? 
 Besides good humor, Caleb is quite the adventurous little boy!  On September 13th, we celebrated his life, since that's the date he was diagnosed two years ago.  He wanted to try indoor skydiving.  With special directions to his "air instructor" to help protect his port, we agreed to let him do it.  

Caleb's the lil' guy in blue.  :-)  He loved it!
There's also a new pizza restaurant that offers a make-your-own-pie concept - and they have options for food allergy sufferers.  This is the first time Caleb has eaten pizza out in years.  His face tells it all.  What a fun way to celebrate all he has overcome the past two years.
Caleb found the strength to zip line with his buddies! (Thanks to the Mize's for the opportunity!)
Yes!  That's Caleb on the top beam, about to swing down.  There is no slowing him down! 

 Did I mention mechanical bull-riding? 
Yes, he tried that, too! 

Caleb loves playing Fall baseball!  He has a great team, and it's a lot of fun for his Daddy to be the coach!  He's very disappointed to miss his game tonight, but he has done well so far, and gotten runs every time he's up to bat this season!  We are so happy to see cooler temperatures heading to Houston, as it almost broke my heart to find him lying under the bench at his last game, after his body overheated.

 We believe Caleb's faith is what keeps him going so strong!  His prayer warriors are playing a huge role in his quality of life.  He entered some of his artwork in Texas Children's art contest for the Periwinkle Foundation.  His love of God shines through for everyone walking down the halls of the hospital to witness.

The third floor bridge of Texas Children's Hospital is filled with special art from patients and their siblings!
Caleb submitted the painting above him - with the cross in front of a sunset.  He told me he wants people to realize that God sent him on a different path than most kids, but a lot of good has come out of his leukemia.
Zachary chose to paint something with lots of meaning for the Periwinkle Foundation.  He says, "Just like bees & butterflies pollinate flowers to keep them growing, chemo - the color of periwinkle flowers - helps keep my brother alive".
Another special donation in Caleb's name this week... as well as another leukemia fighter, Peyton.  Caleb's school mate, Ben Mize, is still making his Soshen (soap plus lotion products) and donating some of the proceeds for leukemia research to Tx Children's.  He donated more per bottle this month, since it's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. is his online store.  We will feature the story of Ben's loving heart and supportive family on FOX26 on Wednesday morning at 9am.

Seems like it takes a village to get through childhood cancer, and we sure love ours.  God bless you each and every day and for every time you add our child to your prayers. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Summer Sighs...

Out with the sunny days of summer and in with the rainy days... where wet stuff is not just falling from the skies... but also from our eyes.  It's been a tough few days for Caleb.

Cal had a spinal tap on Monday, and as always, put on a brave front. 
The start of school often means the spread of germs, so Cal is battling a cold, but he's also suffering from a spinal fluid leak, following his lumbar puncture (spinal tap).  That means a dreadful headache and weakness.  He's so brave, he tried to go to school, but had to come home quickly both days.  Now he's on bed rest, until that fluid can start building back up.

Last night, I was tucking Caleb into bed.  We finished saying our prayers, and I could barely make out the look on his face from the glow of his fish tank.  I asked him if he was okay.  "Mommy, what is happening to my body?  Why did God give me cancer?"  I caught my breath and put on a brave face and tried to keep my voice strong and steady.  "My darling, darling child.  God didn't give you cancer.  God is protecting you while you undergo treatment for cancer," I reassured him.  "I know.  I'm sorry."  I told him over and over how he didn't have to be sorry.  It's so hard to see your child in pain.  

My heart was still so heavy this morning.  Every morning, when I'm getting ready for the news, I'm in the Make-Up Room with the same reporter.  She could feel the tension.  She just put her arms around me and hugged me so tight and reassured me that everything is going to be okay.  It's so amazing to have such a wonderful support system and to get a hug when you really need it.  That one little thing was so big and has gotten me through the day.  

Caleb's body is also having to adjust to a higher dose of chemotherapy.  It has completely changed his taste buds. He can't even stand the thought of his favorite foods from a few weeks ago.  We are trying all kinds of new recipes to make up for it.  It's a frustrating challenge that I know we'll get through.

The other big challenge has been Daddy David's recovery from major back surgery last week.  It was quite surreal for Caleb to be in the hospital for someone else.  He has worked very hard to pamper his dad and make sure he has everything he needs!  You never realize how much your "entire family support system" is needed, until a member or two is recovering & out of the equation for a while.

Supportive sons!
 I believe that we often go through life's storms to get even closer to our Heavenly Maker.  I always rely on music to open my heart and my eyes during these trying times.  This song gives me strength: 

Here I am, down on my knees again, surrendering all.  
Find me here, Lord, as you draw me near, desperate for you, I surrender."

It reminds me God is our healer!   
Here's some great news to share- Caleb absolutely adores his new 2nd grade teacher and is so happy to be back at school with all of his little buddies.  I think it's so important for a child to connect with his teacher, so that he/she enjoys school and then looks forward to it for years to come.  Now if we can just get him strong enough to go back soon!!!

We've enjoyed some special times together, before this latest downhill jog... including watching one of Caleb's favorite teams - the Houston Astros! 

Caleb even got to play GOALIE (far right, orange shirt) in Zachary's last soccer match. 
Caleb also has a new friend from camp - what a blessing that is!  We met up with him last week.  It's incredibly interesting and even somewhat humorous to hear two 8-year olds compare procedures and chemo horror stories.  They both have an amazing sense of humor about it. 

Have a Coke & a smile?  Caleb sure did with this special delivery from my childhood best friend.  Can you see it?  She sent us our own 6-pack with our names (my high school nickname)  Caleb chose THREE of them... his name, plus the ones that say Strong & Courage.  How neat is that?  WOW.  Love them.  Thanks, Valerie!   xoxo   
We are specifically praying for Caleb to adjust to his new chemo load, to recover from his excruciating headache, and to fight germs from entering his body.

I'm reminded of an oldie, but goodie, song of Amy Grant's:
"When I am worried, and I can't sleep, I count my blessings, instead of sheep.   I fall asleep... counting my blessings". 

I will do that tonight, because I know that God is watching over our little boy, and I know we have our Prayer Warriors on our side.  God bless you all.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Last Days of Summer!

God is so good!  Caleb has had an amazing summer, with very few side-effects from chemo, & absolutely no secondary infections or illnesses.  What a beautiful blessing! 

Cal's big brother is not a fan of needles, but Zach still insists on being right by his little bro to support him!  There really is something to the saying of "brotherly love".
Precious babysitter, Nicole, is always by our sides through thick 'n thin, too!  We started praying to find the perfect caretaker for our children BEFORE Zach was born.  Our prayers were heard when Nicole came into our lives eleven years ago.

 Caleb and Zach got to spend a week with their "Auntie Donna" and family last month.  

Water sports helped them enjoy the great outdoors in the steamy North Texas heat!
They had a BLAST with their cousins!
Caleb recently had a great check-up and was given the "all clear" to head off to Camp Periwinkle with Texas Children's Hospital. (Periwinkle because that's the color of one of the main childhood chemotherapies.  Only cancer patients and their siblings are there.)
It's a "no communication policy" with parents at camp for an entire week - so I spend every spare moment on their website, looking for a glimpse of the boys at camp! (Mommy stalker, ha ha)

Looks like Caleb loved making homemade pasta!
One of my former colleagues taught golf lessons at camp, & we're so happy to see him taking good care of Caleb!
Of course rockets intrigue all little boys!!! 

We got this note in the mail from Caleb tonight, and it was such a beautiful sight for us.  How wonderful & such a relief to know that he's doing well and having so much fun.  
 Another special experience from Texas Children's Hospital:  Caleb & Zach made national news because of a video they were in, along with many precious patients from TCH.   

It was fun to see them on programs, like The View & Today Show!  They got a million views on our FOX26 website alone.  It's a beautiful video about how tough children are & really take their life back from illness. Here's the link:
It wasn't as fun as being part of a viral video, but they got to "pretend" to be reporters after a remote newscast in Galveston.
Caleb continues to be drawn to lions, as his theme of a "courageous lion" still remains important to him throughout cancer treatment.  He loved a close-up look of them at the circus.
Caleb reminds me of this kitty looking in the mirror.  The love and prayers from family & friends makes him feel strong, just like a lion! 
As these bright, beautiful balloons helped kick-off the start of camp, we hope Caleb sails through second grade a healthy little boy.  One more week of summer until his classes begin. 
We hope you enjoy the rest of summer.  Please know we are blessed by your "cares and prayers".

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Real Blast!

  Hope your 4th of July "exploded" in red, white, and blue!
  Caleb LOVES sparklers!  It was great to be out of the city limits at a family party, so we could enjoy our own fireworks this year. 

We enjoyed the huge family reunion at my Aunt Nancy's home in Bowie, Texas.  Caleb feels so loved by all of these wonderful people, who’ve helped him get through the past few years of treatment, that it just empowered him.  It was truly beautiful.
He swam and played with his cousins from sunrise to sunset, and an “outsider” would NEVER be able to tell he’s a cancer patient!  He was filled with so much energy and happiness, it was a sight to see. He got to meet Pastor Howard Walker, who has been one of his biggest supporters.  We are so thankful for that.

Caleb’s appointment at Texas Children’s went really well yesterday.  

We got some fantastic news!  Cal's treatments won’t last quite as long as we expected, because he had few setbacks during that first crucial year.  In mid-December of 2016, he’ll be free of daily chemo.  We are ecstatic!!!!   He’s now well over halfway through his treatments.  What a wonderful blessing.

The Houston Police Department just got back from their 2,200 mile trek to New York City to ride and raise money to find a cure for Leukemia. 
Officer Ed Hinojosa, who rode again this year in honor of Caleb, is the officer carrying the US flag.
Caleb can't believe the team was able to ride so far with him in mind.  That means so much to our family.  We are relieved that they made it safely!
 Caleb really enjoyed our family vacation this summer!

We LOVED the fact that Caleb wants to change the name of the Garden of the Gods to Garden of God.  He did not find it appropriate at all to mention more than one - and we got in "trouble" every time we accidentally called it "the wrong name". 
We got to have a miserably cold snowball fight, with 12 foot snow drifts in Colorado.  A frozen June!  Brrrr. 

Caleb loved the geysers in Yellowstone so much.  He's already asking when we can go back.
Fresh, mountain air did us all a world of good in Wyoming & Montana!
Hiking was a challenge for Caleb, but with me helping push him up the mountains, he did a great job.  He also challenged himself as much as he could, as always.
Caleb worked really hard to achieve his "Junior Ranger" status, and is quite proud of his title.  :) 

Caleb & Zach even participated in a calf scramble in Cody, Wyoming.  That was fun, yet a little scary, to watch!  He chased those calves with the best of them.
We have been blessed to spend time with loved ones this summer, including David's very loving Aunt Vernie.

The boys also enjoyed visiting my Aunt Barbara in Santa Fe.

Cal even snuck in a "photo-bomb".  :)
Caleb's hair is growing back!  He even got to get his first hair cut in a long time to even out the new growth! You can tell he's a little nervous about them "taking too much"!  With only five weeks left of his summer break, the timing couldn't be more perfect for a full head of hair!
 As we recall wonderful times spent with family, we realize that we always feel them in our hearts, even when we don't get to see some of them very often.  Family is a circle of love and strength.  With every union and every birth, the circle grows.  Every joy shared adds even more love.  Every crisis we face makes that circle stronger.  No matter how low the valley or impossibly high the mountain may appear, family is forever.  That's an amazing feeling.  It takes a village to get through cancer, and we sure are proud and thankful for ours:  family and friends, God bless you all.