Monthly Archives: August 2010

Protected: Boulder Creek Trail

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Pat Lacey – dad of the extraordinary Will Lacey recently posted about a presentation of PTSD in parents of cancer kids.  I remember being in the middle of treatment with Nathan and attending the conference in 2004 ( I think?) and hearing a similar presentation.

Today I had a moment like that and it came out of the blue.  Lauren and I walked to the supermarket.  When we entered the door a woman came in as well with a IV still placed on her arm and some of that flexible bandage stuff wrapped around her arm (I can’t believe I have forgotten what that is called! or at least what they called it at Sloan Kettering).  I only caught her out of the corner of my eye and I had a physical reaction where my stomach dropped and I caught my breath for a minute and I felt a “zing” in my brain.  Then, I realized what had made that happen.  It was really odd and out-of-body-ish.  I surely have seen such things in the last few years but this one really caught me off guard.  Strange the way the mind works.  I am sure I have suppressed a hell of a lot of emotions and memories.  Four and a half years of hellacious medical procedures witnessed and a painful death are sure to do that to someone.  I hope they stay out of my consciousness as much as possible.

p.s. this is my third post of the day so you might want to scroll down if you are not using a feed reader.

Holding Hands

Now that Lauren is going to the same preschool as Nathan and Julia it is bringing up a lot of memories.

From where I park I cut through a field to the portables outside the school.  There is a well-worn unofficial path there.  Yesterday as I was holding Lauren’s hand walking down this path I could clearly remember doing the same with the other two.  It was very sweet.

Here is a picture taken on my cell phone of Nathan and Julia holding hands on the path after picking her up from preschool.

Nathan still held my hand as a 6/7 year old.  We’d get out of the van at the clinic and I’d take his hand as we walked to the door.  He and I went a lot of places together, just the two of us and even though the circumstances were not always the best I feel lucky I had that time with him.

Oh my gosh – for extra cuteness I just realized that Julia is wearing Nathan’s coat.  She must not have had hers and he gave it to her.

Technical issues

Over the years I have had people tell me they have trouble with my site.  I figured out one of the problems for commenting.  If you are using internet explorer you may not see the word verification words and if you just type in your comments and click “preview” you will then see the words and can post from there.

Other problems such as freezing and multiple windows opening are things I cannot replicate on any of my computers but if you have any of those problems and have any insight, let me know.  I tried to change one of my gadgets to see if that will help.

Bedroom Makeovers

I think I mentioned before that I have been redoing the girls rooms.  A good makeover post would have before and afters but I am not a good blogger – so there you go.  I do have a before of Lauren’s and will see if there are any pictures of Julia’s taken for another reason.

Lauren – yellow walls… before and a complete mess!:

After: green walls plus one purple

Julia: before – long ago but was blue with that bed set:

After: with lavender walls:

Both girls are very happy with the new setups.  Now to keep those rooms clean!

Protected: Back to School Retrospective

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I was glad to be back at church and at choir today.  If you recall, two weeks ago I had Luke take the girls so I could be alone at home and brace myself for the upcoming week.  Then, last week, with Luke leaving again we “attended” church in our pajamas on the couch with the livestream though the mac mini on the big TV.  We’d been out of town the last few also.

Here comes the however to being glad to be back.  I only sang the first service because:

1. Surprise hymn from Nathan’s funeral
2.  Sermon that started out with a dead kid story
3.  One of points of sermon is that people look at those who suffer to bear witness/figure out how that withstand their suffering and still keep the faith.
4. Ends with the end of dead kid story and how the 2 year old brother saw dead brother ascend to heaven with Jesus singing “Jesus Loves Me”

After all that – I didn’t think I could go back up there and do another service.  I think I have mentioned before that the online streaming does some extreme close-ups so I pretty much need to hold it together.

So – I failed at the bearing witness part by being to weak to go back up there, but oh well!

Luke and I got coffee and a bagel and discussed some things that needed to be discussed.  Hopefully next week will be better.

Family Room

Sometime in 1996 or 1997 after Luke and I moved in together, we decided we needed some real furniture.

After college I moved to DC and lived with my aunt and uncle a few months until I got a job and a place.  I rented a room in a townhouse and there was a loveseat for me to use.  Luke moved to DC a year later and when I met him he had those green plastic outside chairs for seating inside his apartment.  Later an old recliner made its way there.

So – we when combined households neither of us had a couch.  I think Luke also had a papasan.  So one of  us could sit in the papasan and the other in the recliner.  I went off one night and found a red couch and loveseat at a going out of business sale and they were comfy and I bought them.  Luke still remembers me calling him and telling him they were red (he was dubious).

I paid someone to haul them to our apartment and they have served us well ever since.

our first Christmas
(see couches in the sides)
Right when we moved into our house in Colorado
Once we got our dog, Ellie, we discovered that not only did her hair show up pretty badly on the couches, it actually would entwine itself into the fabric and it involved hours with a vacuum to get just some of the hair off.  So we started using a sheet over them and then moved one loveseat out of there and have had a series of slipcovers over the years.  Recently we finally declared the family-room an no-toy storage room and moved the toy box out and the loveseat back in and I bought new slipcovers in order to have two matching covers.  These were even uglier slipcovers (on clearance) because the couch was beginning to squeak and there were some springs sticking out the back and I knew their time was short.

4 weeks with Kathy 2
Grandma Kathy with Nathan
(and red sheet )
N daddy's shoes 1
with tan slipcover
(and Nathan wearing
Daddy’s shoes)
Nathan on brown suede slipcover

All this to say – we finally replaced those couches!  Well, and you know how it goes, I knew the nice new couches would make the ugly computer desk look even uglier so I replaced that too.  I felt the same about the ugly side table but covered it instead of replacing it.

I should warn you that I can not decorate so don’t expect to be impressed.  I am just thrilled it looks so much neater and modern in here!  My last project is to paint the fireplace black.  I have some special paint to do it with.  It may fail but it can’t actually look worse than the worn out brass so it is worth a shot.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

cream slipcovers right before we got new couches
Julia at ugly desk
(can’t see how ugly it is here)
New couches and desk
another view
and a last view (plus the hairy dog whose hair
now brushes right off the new couches!)

Ice Cream Truck

As part of bedroom redo for the girls and also family room makeover (will post on that later when I am finally done) I needed to swap out some plastic drawers in the basement with a different set so Julia could have the basement set.  In these drawers were a bunch of cars and trucks.  I went through them and then through the two other large containers of cars and trucks we have.  Lauren helped me and had fun playing with them which made it easier.  I didn’t get rid of any, just redistributed them.  These were all Nathan’s, of course.  He LOVED cars and trucks and given that he was “sick” for 4.5 of his 7 years he was given a whole lot of them.    He particularly loved them from about age 2-6.  So, yesterday I was on a quest to find a specific truck; the ice cream truck.

He was diagnosed in April  2003 at 2 years, 9 months.  He and I spent most of the days that summer in the clinic either receiving chemo or blood transfusions.  These were all day events.  It was up to me to keep a 2 / 3 year old happy for 7 hours in a small room.  So, we spent most of these hours on the floor with his cars and trucks.  At this young age he wanted to interact with the vehicles.   Ice Cream Truck would drive around asking all the other vehicles what kind of ice cream they wanted and serving them.  I have such clear memories of playing with the Ice Cream Truck with him and can almost hear his little voice playing.  It is a bittersweet memory but these kinds of memories are becoming more sweet than bitter.  It sucks that these clinic visits were such a part of his life, but on the other hand, they were part of his life experience and remembering him, particularly at that age, means remembering these days.

I found Ice Cream Truck and it now sits on my desk.

Egg Cups

Growing up for many years our Sunday morning breakfast’s centerpiece was a boiled egg served in an egg cup.  I suspect this started when we were living in England for a year, but I will have to ask them.  At some point we stopped tis tradition and I hadn’t had an egg that way in 25 years or so.

Recently, when shopping in Manitou Springs with my in-laws, I ran across some egg cups and, more importantly, the egg cutter!  I purchased them and put them in the cabinet and forgot about them for a month or two but I finally got them out the other day.

Luke was wondering what the point was but I think he agreed with me after eating his that you get the optimal ratio of white to yolk eating them this way.  It is funny as a parent to realize the things that mattered to you as a kid.  I’m guessing a great majority of these things are just normal at the time and only by repeating them you end up creating a childhood memory of something you never intended.

So – a few pictures…one very blurry one…sorry.