Today I want to honor my husband and my Dad.

My Dad
We'll start with childhood. My Dad was a family man. He was always there (and there with a video camera!) for everything we ever did. How he managed that with 5 kids I'll never know, but I know he was there for everything. He made an EFFORT (yes it takes effort!) to be the father in our home. And a darn good one! I remember riding horsie on his back, being flipped in the air, and squealing with delight playing octopus (my siblings will remember that one). He taught us about life every opportunity he saw. There was always something he was teaching us. I have very fond memories of my childhood and many of them are with my Dad in them. As a child I never felt alone or unloved or abandoned. Never.

He is all about "moments". These moments in our life that we wish we could capture and keep in our memories forever. My dad actually does capture them, he will "recreate" them for a picture just so he can capture that moment. He takes a lot of heat for that from all us kids, it is the family joke, we have to recreate moments so he can get a picture of them. As much as we tease him, many a moments will be captured because of that goofy quality.

As an adult, my Dad has been such an important part of my life. He will drop everything to help. I will never forget when he rushed up when Brinley was diagnosed and played Mr. Mom for us. What man does that? My Dad! That's who! He has been a grandpa that my kids can look up to and I appreciate everything he does for me today just as much as I appreciate the yesterdays. I consider myself blessed to have a dad who had a desire to teach me about Christ. It has shaped who I am today, I can't imagine having it any other way. So thanks Dad, for teaching me how to laugh, live, love and endure. I love you!

My husband
Deep breath. Oh boy, where do I begin. When I married David I married him for his patience, committment and loyalty (okay, so he's pretty dang hot too!). I had no idea what this would turn into. I have found a best friend, someone who I can confide in, trust, love, laugh with, cry with, argue with (yep, we do that too!), forgive with (after the arguing...), learn with, the list goes on. I have had the opportunity through this experience with Brinley to see what my husband is made of. I always knew he had it in him, but now I get to experience it firsthand. He is an amazing example to me of sacrifice, selflessness, patience, strength and forgiveness. These things have been something we have needed a lot of lately and he has proven true to those qualities.

I remember an experience when I knew without a doubt that he was the best thing that had ever happened to me. (I guess I should say it confirmed it, because I already knew it). It was a time when we were doing something hard. We had to hold Brinley down for a dressing change. I've talked about them before, but it is very difficult to really describe how hard they are. My point in saying that is this: at one point in doing a PICC line dressing change, I was ready to break down. I wanted to get up and run into my room and throw myself on my bed and cry. I cannot describe the pain that was in my heart. Everything we had ever seen her go through flooded into my mind and it was overwhelming. I didn't say a word, but in my mind I was screaming "I hate this! I hate it! I hate it!" I looked up at David and our eyes met. Something amazing happened. I saw the pain that was in my heart in my husband's eyes. HE felt it too. We were one at that moment. We had the same pain, a pain that no one else in this world would ever experience over Brinley. Only us. I have never felt so connected to someone in my life. It gave me the strength to finish the dressing change and hold myself together.

I am so so grateful for the father he is to all of our children. He has taken in Taylor and treated her as his own daughter. She is grateful to have a step-dad who loves her so much. He plays with our kids and they love to be with him. Many times our girls only want their Daddy, and believe it or not, that makes me so happy. Sometimes I think he's a better mother than I am! He is the one who wakes up first when someone cries out in the night and goes to comfort them. There have been mornings that he has said "I was up with Jade 3 times last night", and I had just peacefully slept through it all! He has always put us first in life. I have never felt second to anything, ever. The sacrifices he makes for us are many, and they are so appreciated, even if they seem to go unnoticed. So David, my very best friend, I love you! Thanks for being such a great Daddy to our girls and husband to me!

Brinley is busy recovering from the surgery. It still hurts quite a bit and she is on oxycodone and sometimes asks for it well before it is due again. She finally braved walking late yesterday and was quite proud of herself. In a VERY high pitched, excited voice, she yelled "LOOK Daddy, I'm WALKING!" Typing it just doesn't do it justice. It was quite cute.

She has been grouchy and cries a lot, we are not sure if it is from the steroids or the pain from surgery. Probably both. She got hit twice this time, with chemo and a surgery, so we are all feeling bad for her. The first night I let her sleep with me because she was running a low temp and I was nervous it would go up. I don't think she moved all night. She just slept on her back and didn't budge so it wouldn't hurt. She just cried and cried last night and I finally convinced her to let me rock her and she was OUT within seconds. She slept until almost 11:00 today, so I think her little body was totally wiped out. When I look at her and see all her battle wounds it makes me so sad. The central line scar, the picc line, the lumbar puncture, the tiny scar on her neck from the original surgery (to put in the central line), the new cut in her neck and the new port surgery, the two little scars on her back from her bone marrow biopsy's. It is one of those times you just wonder why such a little body has to go through it all. She looks up at me with her big brown sad eyes and says "my bumpie is hurting!" (She started calling her port her "bumpie" because it sticks out so far) I am really hoping it will be healed before we have to access it.

All in all, she is doing well considering. No problems, just needs time to heal. We got up and had a lovely start to steroid week, with her favorite steroid food, eggs, bacon and toast. It's not very often our family gets to eat breakfast together, so it was a treat. And Brinley woke up so happy to see that breakfast waiting for her! David, Taylor and I did our tradition of late, friday night cleaning. Sounds fun, huh? So the house is nice and clean and I am happy because I got up early and got grocery shopping done, so we are ready for Father's Day dinner tomorrow! It should be a good weekend if we can keep the steroids and pain under control.

Brinley had her port placement surgery and everything went fine. She woke up very unhappy, possibly in pain, so they gave her some pain meds and she fell back asleep for about an hour while I rocked her. They put the port right underneath her breast (better place for a scar) and it protrudes out quite a bit. They said it is because she is so small. She also got her LP today and it went without a hitch (whew). I even had them take off an old band aid while she was sedated...might as well save her from as much pain as I can! :)

Then after recovery it was up to clinic for some chemo and to get counts and remove her PICC line. Our oncologist said she was having second thoughts while in the shower last night for giving the green light on the surgery because her counts were a little low and that gives her a higher chance of infection. (Good to know she thinks of us outside of work too!) I appreciated her being honest with us, she seemed a little nervous to find out her counts today. Luckily her ANC doubled from yesterday! It was up to 1300, so she was totally fine to get the surgery. (whew again, we didn't find that out until AFTER the surgery). After the chemo we did the dreaded task of removing the PICC line. It was not pleasant and she was very nervous and cried a lot, but it is over and the PICC line is gone. No more dressing changes!!! Wooooohoooooo!

Now we have to worry about how she will do with her first port access. There is just no easy way to get chemo, is there?

For now she is in pain, and not feeling great. I just gave her some more oxycodone, hopefully that will help. She isn't too sure about the big bump under her skin, it will take some getting used to. She also had an incision in her lower neck by her collarbone that they use to feed the catheter into her vein, so that is hurting too. She is such a trooper. It about kills me when she looks at me and says "Is it hurt, mommy?" and I know the answer is yes. It will hurt. How do you tell a scared 2 year old that? Oh, I love my tough little girl!

Tomorrow is the day Brinley will have surgery to have her port placed. I hope everything goes okay, if you could say a little prayer that everything will go well we would sure be grateful! We go in at 7:30 AM, with surgery at 9:00, along with a lumbar puncture (chemo in her spine), followed by chemo at clinic. I think it will be a long, hard day. They will have to leave her PICC line in for the chemo afterwards, (they don't want to access her port right after putting it in) so that means it will have to be removed after her chemo and while she is awake. I am very nervous about that. It is a very long line they will be pulling out of her, not to mention the stitches they have to take out to free the line. I hope it is not too traumatic. I told Brinley they were going to take it out tomorrow and now she is asking if it will hurt. I can see in her eyes she is nervous. She never knows what is coming next. I just hate this part.

Everything else is fine, Taylor has been quite sick with that same wacky virus the other girls had. We are trying to keep it from Mylee now. Other than that, we are just kind of treading water. Not going anywhere, but not drowning either.

This was our trip to the zoo I wrote about last week.

They had free face painting too. The girls loved it!

A Princess at the zoo!!?? Jade literally chased her down to talk to her.

Tired enough to eat in her sleep again, this time OFF the steroids...

Okay, this is what happens when you tell a 2 year old she can put on her own lipstick....less is more Brinley, less is more.

We are experimenting with what we can do with her growing hair, not much still, but it's getting there!

Been a while since we posted a Mylee picture, she's doing great and getting big!