Sunday, November 30, 2008

Erik is in the hospital again. It is going to be a long road. Please continue to pray for him and Kim. He was home for Thanksgiving but has to go back in for plasmaphoresis. His levels were to high.

I decided after I finish my master and find a job for next year, and most importantly when Erik improves. We all need to take a trip to the best place ever Asheville NC. I think Erik would enjoy riding the tubes down the mountains again.

After Thanksgiving Kirsten, Sam and the kids came up to our house. At 3 am Kirsten and I headed to the stores. Mark had to go to Best Buy (the fun part of working as a seasonal employee. Mark loves the discount but on Friday he wasn't sure it was worth it.), so we dropped him off and went to Toys R Us. I always go there because the sell diapers at 10 bucks a box. So I am stocked up for the next year. I also had to get Mark a new portable DVD player. I thought I got all of my Christmas shopping done, but when I went to wrap the gifts today I realized I had only bought 2 Nintendo wii games and I wanted to get Luke and Levi two each. I think I will get the Sims creator and I don't know what other one. After we were done shopping Sam went to Lake Geneva to go fishing and then we headed down to Woodridge AMC. Mark used to work for AMC so we get free movies because his friend is GM there. We went and saw Twilight it was a good movie, we all enjoyed it. Michelle, Kim's sister, is taking care of Erik during the day so I talked with Steve to see if he could get her a job in the evening at Yorktown. He said that would be fine, so hopefully everything works out. We stayed the night at my grandparents and then I was able to get their tree out and decorate it. Grandma thinks I should start a business with Kirsten doing that. I said the only reason I do it for her is "I love her!" While we were there we went to Yorktown so Hans could ride the train, and I could get my father in law his gift. Hans was a little monster. I always hear that Hans is the best kid, but it was nice to hear he is the best because he has a great mom. The moment he has difficulty I usually stop what I am doing and think about what he needs. The two times I haven't done this I regret it once was a Target. I ran into my friend Jen from college and didn't realize I had missed dinner time and Hans was starving. Then there was Saturday. I should have had him take a nap and then gone out. Live and Learn!

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving! We spent the day at my grandparents. Sam's family was there it was so nice to see them. Erik was unable to be there and we missed him, but he was with his in-laws. He was unable to be with all the people. We had a wonderful dinner and then went outside the men and boys played baseball while the women went for a walk. Then when I got back I played ball a little more with Hans. He loves baseball. We all went around the table and talked about what we are thankful for and it was a moment to hear what everyone had to say. Mark and I said we are especially thankful for our family, and each other. Mark, Sam and I also decided to go to the park with the kids. It was such a blessing to be with everyone.

Elle is dressed in her Thanksgiving outfit. She was supposed to go for a nap but she just wanted to be up. This was the first time I got to see her standing in it. She has been doing it for a while, but only Mark had seen her. It is amazing to me how she is growing so quickly!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Mark and I have been married 9 years today, and my Grandparents have been married 69 years. We decided on Thanksgiving weekend because they had been married 60 years, which we thought was neat. This week Mark was off so we got up the Christmas trees, and decorations. We also made white chocolate and raspberry bars and other assorted cookies. Hans was an amazing help! He would bring me ornaments while I was on the ladder. The tree in the family room is 12 feet tall. Mark and I say were not going to put it up this year, but we always do. The tree has so many ornaments, but it was so much easier with Hans help!

This is the family room tree. Last year we didn't put it up, but we decided to this year. Behind it is one of many pictures my dad took of Ali and Ali signed them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Well as many of you know Hans has been having problems with his speech. He will be going to SEDOL to be tested on Monday. They will be also doing a hearing test. He continually pulls on his ears, so were are trying to determine if he will need tubes to help his hearing. Please Pray that we are able to determine what steps to take.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The trick of the week! Hans decided he likes to feed Elle. So he stands or kneels on the chair and feeds her. Elle gets easily distracted (she has to know everything going on, it must be the Margaret in her) so I love it because Hans can keep her attention.
Today Hans was goofing around and landed on his buzz light year. He was upset with buzz so I had to give buzz "Eyes" ( that is what Hans calls the look Mark gives him when he is being naughty), a spanking with the spoon (which he has only gotten twice- once for hurting Elle and not staying in his bed at nighttime), and put him in time out at Hans demand. When buzz came out of time out he had to give Hans a kiss, and then Hans talked with him. Hans is becoming a disciplinarian already.
Mark and I weren't sure if we were going to use spankings for discipline, but after surveying my kids at school. I can pretty much tell who got spankings and who didn't by their respect for their parents. I found the best behaved kids received spankings. They all say the worst moment was being sent to their room and waiting for their parents coming to their room. I remember this as a child. For Hans it is just enough to say do you want eyes or the spoon and he shapes up. I hope and pray that is will be the same with Elle.

I didn't know that Mark had to work all day Saturday so we decided to go down and see family. We met my mom and Dorothy at Yorktown. While we were there Hans had to ride the train and play in the tree house. When we walked passed Santa we saw there was no line so we stopped off to get pictures taken. Poor Santa Elle kept pulling his beard. After we were at Yorktown we went to Great Grandma's house and Silverado's for dinner. Hans was so excited to see his cousins. He has a blast with them. We wanted to visit Erik at home, but I have been around so many sick people. I just didn't want to take a chance.

Friday night we went out to rainforest to see the animals. I also got Hans and Elle Christmas outfits. Elle already had stuff, but I couldn't pass up the dress that matched with Hans. We got home late and decided to watch Jingle all the way.

I have been doing an experiment at school, so I decided to run to hobby lobby and get some of the growing toys to do it with Hans. He has liked looking at the toys growing everyday.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not a noise! It is the first snow of the year so no children are outside running around, and both kids are asleep. This is a rare occasion that everything is peaceful. I am now official done with both my observations and did excellent. For masters I had a presentation and that went well. I can relax and breath for a few minutes. Today I got to talk with my brother and he is so thankful for all of the prayers. Kirsten and I have to go in and see if we are a match, so Erik can use our stem cells. Please pray that we both are!
Elle and Hans are doing great. Elle loves crawling everywhere and getting into everything. We spent our family Friday night at the house putting up the Dickens's houses, and watching movies. We are getting ready for winter.

Hans is sporting the sweater and hat Uncle Erik and Auntie Kim got him that he now fits into. The kids got so many comments at church how they are the best dressed kids. At church the kids get a tag which said ez2. When I read it I said that is so my kids. They are 2 easy kids! When I went to pick them up the women said there tag fits them they are the easiest kids every week. People ask what is the secret? Consistency and Prayer!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well today I am done with one of my post teacher observations from the principal. It went well. I had just as many exceeds expectations as meets. Usually teachers are lucky if they get one exceeds, so as you can imagine I am happy. Tomorrow I have my other post observation. I hope it goes just as well!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Congrats to Mark's BF John and Katie on the birth of their daughter Charlotte. We can't wait to the come to visit and get the baby baptised. Also Mark and I can't wait to visit them sometime hopefully soon because they live in my favorite place North Carolina.

Erik is home from the hospital and will be seeing three specialist this week. Please continue to pray for him and Kim.

Elle is my little sunshine! She is so much like her father in personality. Mark and I were discussing how already I let her get away with more because she is more like Mark, while Mark lets Hans get away with more because he is like me. I don't know if it is supposed to work that way, but it seems to for us.

Mark had to work this entire weekend, so it was me and the kids. This 7 to 11 drives me nuts! At least it is not like last year and we only have weekends like these once and a while now. On Saturday we stopped by mom's house to help clear things out for Erik's sake. Erik and Kim have been living at my mom's house since mom is helping my Grandparents. We finally got all of my dad's pictures organized and Kirsten took them to her house to put on CD's. Erik came home from the hospital today so we thought it was a good time to clean out the basement on Saturday. It got cleared out so the cleaning crew can come through. On Saturday we spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa. Hans loves getting all the attention. Grandma was amazed by how he picks everything up. He found some wrappers on the floor and throw them away. Such a little helper. Then Ellie was her spunky self. She was into everything. She was playing with a toy and her favorite button said I love to learn. Then today we spent the day outside getting all the furniture covered, toys and grill put away, and many other things that need to be done outside. Man was it cold! There were flurries while Hans and I were working.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Erik is back in the hospital. His protein levels are high again. Please pray everything goes well. With everything that has been going on I forgot to say happy seven months to Ellie. I finished parent teacher conferences today, and also got observed by my administrator and the Principal this week. Next week I will find out how I did. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving I think I need a break and on thanksgiving Mark and I will have our nine year anniversary.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Today I learned from my friend Rachel who is in oncology that Dr. Dave Vesole from Loyola is a specialist that her hospital works close with. Also that Erik has the same blood type as my sister and her family. He can receive their blood for his transfusions instead of going to a blood bank. Everyone knows blood banks scare me after my experience being a scientist at Abbott and working close with the FDA. So like I tell my students make sure you know your blood type and have someone in your family donate their blood.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Well today I am getting a little overwhelmed. This week we have parent teacher conferences, and I also get observed tomorrow by my new principal. The principal said it will be good to see one of the outstanding teachers. He is coming to observe me teach chemistry. I don't know how outstanding I will be. All that I can think about is how Erik is doing, and what I should be researching. I have been getting emails with so much information. I have found out that UAMS (University of Arkansas for Medical Science) has Bart Barlogie MD, Ph.D. He is considered to be the leader in treatment of MM. Bart trains many of the doctors at Northwestern. Bart focuses on controlling growth in MM. Also a coworkers husband has MM and has been going to UAMS for treatment. He has received his stem cell transplants at UAMS. I have also learned about Todd Zimmerman at University of Chicago. Erik is currently going to Loyola because of my cousin being a doctor there.

In MM the percentage of MM cells is in determining what should be done. I am not sure what Erik's percentage is? I am hoping to find out soon.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Luke, Levi, Hans and Elle all went trick or treating around Elmhurst. Hans ran to keep up with the boys. Next time remind me to wear my gym shoes. Towards the end he started dragging, I eventually had to put him in a stroller and wheel him up to the door.

On Friday we went to visit Erik and stopped by Yorktown. Hans got to ride the train.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We have been in Elmhurst the past few days. I just want to thank everyone for praying for Erik, Kim and my family. We found out yesterday the my aunt and great aunt had multiple myeloma, so there is a possibility that it is genetic. My aunt passed away a year after my father. This is how I would explain it to my students. Your immune system has both killer T cells and helper B cells. This cancer effects the B cells. The purpose of the B cells is to help you body maintain homeostasis, which is helping it maintain stable conditions. The cancerous B cells found in the blood and plasma are dividing uncontrollably. The doctors took scans of Erik's bones because there are two types of cells that maintain health bones and they are osteoclasts and osteoblast at a balance. In MM the osteoclast reproduce more rapidly causing weak spots in the bones and deprives the bones of essential nutrient like calcium. The good news is Erik has had his bone scanned and they haven't found any weak spots. He has one more scan today of his spinal cord. The other concern since this cancer is in the blood and plasma is how it is going to effect other parts of the body. Last night when I saw him he wasn't doing well. The hospital had given him magnesium to help with his calcium absorption, which made him miserable. MM is incurable but there is the possibility of remission so that is what we are praying for.

It has been hard for us with the loss of my dad, aunt and cousin. Now I know we are going to need God's help through this process and Erik will need strength. Please pray for our family. Thankfully Kim's mother from CA and Michelle, who is a missionary back at the state to raise support, are here to stay indefinitely. Kim's mom has done so much for Erik to make sure that he gets everything he needs. She is even making sure that he is getting chemo treatment so the doctors make sure the have a good balance of the nausea and pain medication, so Erik can be comfortable. I want to thank to all of you who have called, sent flowers, cards and messages. I know your prayers are going to help Erik through this process.

I am starting my research. When I first found out about Erik, I was told his protein levels were high. I told my friend Kristyn and my sister Kirsten it must be something with the mRNA. With the Human Genome Project they have seemed to have identified it on chromosome 4 and 6. IFR4 has to do with protein coding. I am going to be trying to find any and all information about these genes and if there has been any gene therapy performed. For my scientist friends please let me know anything you find.