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November 2006
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January 2007

Just 3 More Sleeps

It's getting closer by the minute; Christmas Day.  We will be leaving for Salt Lake City on Christmas day and will be gone for 11 days. 

My family has vowed to spend tomorrow (Saturday) cleaning the house and preparing for our trip to Utah.  The last time we went on a long vacation, we returned to a house that looked like it had been ransacked by burglars.  Only it wasn't burglars.  It was just us.  We left it a wreck and unfortunately  no little elves showed up to clean it while we were away.  I figure, if after our time away, I have to return to the unenviable task of taking down the Christmas tree and putting away the decorations, I may as well do it in a clean house.

On Sunday evening, I have two church services, which will really be mini-concerts.  I'm just about ready to go.  I'm listening to the programs print as I write this post.  The band was sounding great at our rehearsal last night.  I'm looking forward to the night.  It should be filled with lots of Christmas-warm-fuzzies.  I'll do my best to post some pics or video clips.

This will likely be my last post until 2007.  We'll be staying with my mother in Utah and she's still on good ol' dial-up, so I don't know if I'll have the stamina to even attempt the internet while we're there.  Maybe I'll hop into a Starbucks and upload some pics of our skiing adventures.

Anyway, as we prepare to bid farewell to '06, I thought I'd share this recent video of my boys.  It has nothing to do with Christmas.  It's just silly.  It makes me laugh.  Maybe you will too!

Brotherly Love

Brothers I must admit that I have fallen into the trap of creating McDonald's "heavy-users."  When I was a kid going to McDs was a rare, rare treat.  I have plenty of friends that would like to keep things that way with their children.

We have a McDs just a few blocks from our house.  It happens to have a killer McPlay area for the kids; tubes, tunnels, slides, etc.  Every Friday morning, while Elizabeth gets ready for her usual day of meetings, I take the boys to McDs for breakfast and play time.  It's great.  I can feed them, they play and I can get a lot of reading done.

This week, while on our regular Friday morning McAdventure, Silas and Ephraim embarked on a new era of brotherly progress.  Ephraim is too small to climb into the tunnels to slide on the big slides.  The first two platforms that must be climbed to ascend into the structure are just slightly out of reach for him.  This time out, the boys discovered that Silas could crouch on his hands and knees and Ephraim could climb up on his back to reach the platforms.  Before I knew it, the two of them were sky high in the structure, having a wild time together.  They slid down the big tube slide and performed the task several times over before Silas finally grew tired of having his brother standing on him.

It was really fun to watch.  They were so proud to be able to do it together.  Silas was singing some made up song about "teamwork."  I wish that I'd had the video camera.  They'll never remember this day.  I'll never forget it.

Interestingly, after Silas decided he'd had enough and went back to playing the Nintendo in the corner, Ephraim recruited two little girls to assist him into the tube tunnel.  One girl pulled his arms from above while the other boosted him from below.  It was quite amusing to watch.  I fear that Ephraim's "way with the ladies" may be coming a bit earlier than I would have hoped!

Haydn's Health

I mentioned in a post back on November 27 that were concerned about the health of a little boy on our street who had been injured at our home while playing with Silas.  Shortly after that post, we were informed by Haydn's parents that his injury was a chipped collarbone.  We were simply dumbfounded by how Silas could have shaken him hard enough to cause this type of injury.  Needless to say, we were quite concerned for Haydn, who was in severe pain, and concerned what this might do to the new friendship that we have been forming with his parents.  It was already putting a noticeable tension in the air when we were discussing things with the family.

We got a phone call from Haydn's mom on Tuesday afternoon with more bad news.  Haydn's pain had been getting progressively worse over the last couple of weeks and after numerous visits to the hospital, and no better diagnosis than a chipped collarbone, they finally decided to make a trip to Sick Kid's Hospital last Friday.  Haydn had reached a point where he could barely hold up his head or sit up straight.

The staff at Sick Kids worked swiftly and by Saturday morning it was determined that Haydn had a tumor growing on his C6 vertebrae.  The actual diagnosis is that Haydn has a disease called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH).  It is a very rare condition (1 in 2 million) that is similar to cancer - some doctors call it cancer; others do not.  It is a highly treatable disease, with a 90% survival rate.  However, because of the location of Haydn's tumor, it cannot be removed surgically.  If it were on his arm or leg, they would simply cut it out and be done.  Haydn's tumor is already pressing on his spinal cord and the risk is too high for surgery.  In fact, had the tumor gone undetected for another couple of months, and continued to grow, Haydn would have likely died.

He will be treated with steroids and chemotherapy for the next six months in hopes that it will destroy the tumor.  The prognosis is positive and the oncologist is confident that this treatment will do the trick.  It will, obviously be a more drawn-out and discomforting treatment.

Apparently, the recurrence of tumors in LCH cases is rare.  So once this tumor has been conquered, Haydn should be able to get back on track with a normal life.

Anyway, while we are relieved to know that Haydn's pain over the last month was not due to Silas' aggressiveness (or our negligence), we are obviously more concerned now that he will fully recover from this and get back to a normal life.  In spite of the way it made us feel thinking that we were responsible for Haydn being injured, we would have taken that diagnosis (chipped collarbone, 6-week recovery) over this diagnosis (and 6 MONTHS of chemo).

Keep Haydn (and his family) in your prayers.  They've been through a lot in the last few weeks.  The best Christmas gift they could ask for this year is the full recovery of their sweet boy.

3boys_1Haydn, Silas and Ephraim are showing me their muscles.

The Nativity Feud

The Christmas tree went up tonight.  I also bought a new nativity set to display this year.  This photo was taken only moments after the battle over whose turn it was to put Baby Jesus in the manger.

Yes, yes, I know.  The wise men shouldn't be in the stable.  But for $9.99, theological accuracy is probably asking too much.