Day 6 – Day At Sea

By Thursday we were ready for a slower day…..we only had two full days of our holiday left. This was a 7 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise that we were on.

I woke up before the girls & Judah did; and headed out to my balcony to sit in the quiet for a few moments.

We had been given two rooms on the ship that were side by side….for whatever reason, we had believed that we would have adjoining rooms and it was a bit of a surprise to find that we didn’t, but we adjusted fairly quickly.

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It did mean that we had to split up and so Jon took the two boys into one room with him; and the girls & Judah and myself were in the other. It did require some juggling when putting the littlest boys to bed and….well, it wasn’t ideal but we did work it out. I think that if we’d been prepared for to have two separate rooms that it wouldn’t have been such a surprise, but we decided that it didn’t matter if we had to be in two different rooms, because we were just so blessed to be able to even be on this vacation and we were determined to enjoy every single minute of it and to not waste time over silly things like sleeping arrangements.

Judah woke up and I quickly got him so that he wouldn’t wake the girls and we hung out on the balcony for a while. It was AMAZING to have the balcony. I LOVED sitting out there early in the morning or relaxing with Jon out there after we put the two little boys to bed. It was such a treat to have.

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(I only have iPhone photos from this day. So while the quality is not perfect; it’s good enough for memories.)

Finally Jon woke up and went and got me a coffee…..YUM! I stopped drinking coffee back in March, but I had coffee while I was on holiday’s and it was a nice treat….sucked when I had to quit again once I got home…but a nice treat nonetheless…

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Once all the kids woke up, Jon took a few of them up to the buffet and picked up some breakfast for us all and we ate back in our room and out on the balcony. It was so nice to not be in a hurry rushing off to anywhere.

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It was looking like it was going to be an AMAZING day on the ship and we had a few special treats planned.

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Jon had booked a spa special for both Geli and I to have together. We got to choose 5 spa services and get pamperd for an hour and a half. We both chose to have a neck and shoulder massage, a scalp massage, a facial, a hand massage and a foot massage. We walked away from our time at the spa feeling very relaxed and very special.

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We had signed up for a babysitting slot in the Flounder’s Nursery and were told on Wednesday night that a spot had opened up between 1-4pm on Thursday for Judah and so we took it. We grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch and then placed ALL the kids into their respective “clubs” and Jon and I had some actual “down time” just for us.

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It felt so amazing and yet really weird at the same time. I was quite worried about Judah because he had started screaming as soon as we left him in the nursery and he alternated between screaming and falling asleep in one of the workers arms, but he wouldn’t let them put him down or he’d wake up and start screaming again. Needless to say, he didn’t enjoy his time in the nursery, but Jon and I really did enjoy our time off.

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The rest of the cruise we not really a vacation for Jon and I. Taking a trip with 5 kids is not a “holiday” but it is definitely a vacation from the daily grind. But we were just so thankful and grateful for the opportunity and what a wonderful and amazing opportunity it was. I’m not complaining, it’s just the reality with a big family….it’s like we work hard to make it an amazing memory for the kids. And it truly is a MOST AMAZING MEMORY!

I don’t remember too much about that evening, but I’m sure that we headed back to our rooms fairly early because we were going to spend the whole day at Castaway Cay the next day and we were really REALLY looking forward to it.

To see the whole set of photos from this day, click here…

Happy Anniversary… sort of…

On June 16th, 2010, we received a call from our family Doctor that started the most difficult year our family has ever had to deal with. We spent that night in the Emergency Room at BC Children’s Hospital getting asked a million question and getting poked and prodded and at about 1:00am on June 17th an Oncology Resident came into our room and stated that initial blood screen results indicated that Angelica was fighting Leukemia. We were admitted to the hospital, tried to get a few hours of sleep and…

On June 17th, 2010, after a bone marrow biopsy, the diagnosis was confirmed as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia – B Cell (with a few other specific gene type annotations). This became Day 0 and a whirlwind of activity began that changed the course of our lives.



June 17, 2010
June 17, 2010

Tomorrow is June 17th, 2011. One year since all this began and Angelica is still in active treatment. Her counts are very low, so we have an appointment tomorrow to get some blood transfusions. It will take all day in at BC Children’s, and we would like to celebrate.

We are not looking to celebrate a year of leukemia treatment… that is just morbid. We do want to celebrate a year of life, a year of triumph and a year of community coming together. As her counts are so low, and she is not really allowed to be around groups of people, we can’t go and throw a big BBQ in the back yard, but we can celebrate in other ways. I would like to ask you to send in a comment at the bottom of this post or e-mail (to: patti@xangelle.com) and share “something” with Angelica. You may have a moment in this journey that really sticks out to you. You may have a way that this journey has impacted your life. You may just be able to say, “I am still standing with you”. But please take a moment to share something. I would like to be able to share your encouraging thoughts and comments with her all during the day tomorrow at the hospital.

Also, please have a look at the shirts that Angelica is selling (button on the right) and buy one or pass the link along to friends and family. And if you are not interested in using the paypal shopping cart, or wish to pay in cash, please just contact us and we will set it up. We will be placing our first order with the shirt printer on Monday.

Jon

Which is your favorite?

On Tuesday, I briefly mentioned that we had Family Photos done a few weeks ago and that you could go and see a few of them if you went over to the Red Handed Photography Blog.

Tania had posted a bunch of pictures of the kids. On Wednesday, she posted a few of Jon and I together. And today she posted a bunch of our entire family.

I am SO thrilled with these photos. I love to be able to capture my family in pictures. I love to be able to catch moments or scenes from the different points in our lives. Some of those times are amazing and some are a bit tougher, but all those pictures go together to tell a story! Our Story!

As many pictures as I am able to take of the kids, or even of Jon….I am never able to get pictures of Jon and I together and none of our entire family. For Cara to volunteer her winning photo package to us as a family and for Tania to take the photos……I am so SO blessed.

This is such a gift. SUCH A HUGE GIFT to us. I am so thrilled to have photo’s from this time in our lives.

To see pictures of the kids, of Jon and I, and of our family all together, please go and visit Tania’s website.

Red Handed Photography

And if you are thinking about getting pictures taken, I would strongly encourage you to contact Tania. She is fantastic. The shoot was so easy and comfortable. Her ability to deal with all 7 of us and to not get stressed or upset, was amazing. She made this entire process so fabulous!

I’d love it if you would check them out and let me know which one(s) are your favorite?

I love this goofy shot of the kids……

Strawberry Shakes and Pictures

Angelica’s counts came back too low and she’s scored herself some blood. So, her and Jon are in for a LONG and boring day at the hospital today.

I have more to update on how Geli is doing and what’s up in our world, but time is tight right now…so, I’ll just send you over to RED HANDED PHOTOGRAPHY to see the Family Photo‘s that Tania took of us a few weeks ago.

They are AMAZING!

Tania, BABE!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

We are so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives.

Unexpected Blessings

Back in June/July of last year, just shortly after Angelica was diagnosed with Leukemia, my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins got together and bought Geli an iPod Touch.

It was the most amazing blessing EVER! (to those reading this….it’s not that your gifts weren’t amazing too, I just happen to be mentioning this particular gift for a particular reason that you will soon see.)

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Angelica spent hours, and Hours and HOURS on her iPod. Playing games, and listening to music and watching movies and looking things up and well, it provided some amazing distractions at times when distractions were so SO needed. She never went ANYWHERE without her iPod.

One day a few weeks ago, Angelica went to school and had her iPod tucked into the outside pocket of her backpack. Somehow, someway, her iPod got stolen out of her backpack. She was SO upset. Its upsetting when the innocence and naivety of your world is stripped away and you realize that the world is not the safe place that you might have thought it was. To have something of yours stolen from you……it’s a rude awakening into reality! It’s even more upsetting when that “item” has memories and key events in your life, attached to it.

We asked if there was any way possible for the school to make an announcement about her iPod being stolen. Geli checked in at the office a few times, but no one had turned anything in!

We got a call two weeks ago from one of the teachers who mentioned that the WGSS Grads were fundraising to get Angelica a new iPod.

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We were shocked, in a good way! Once again, we are so touched and amazed at how this community has rallied around us and supported us and loved us…..it’s overwhelming, in such a very, very good way!

I got the call last week that they had the funds in and were able to purchase a brand new iPod for her. This is even an upgrade from the amazing iPod that my family had already got for her. This new one has some new features that her previous iPod didn’t have, like a camera and the ability to Facetime.

On Friday, while she was at school, the principal came down to her Math class and got her out of class and took her down to the English 12 class. We hadn’t told her about what was happening and so it was a surprise for her.

She was BLOWN away! After they presented it to her, she texted me to let me know what had just happened. I had cried when the teacher had called to let me know and I cried again when she texted me and I’m crying now, just thinking about it. She was so SO excited. It was such a HUGE blessing for her. She had basically resigned herself to the fact that her iPod was gone forever. We don’t have the ability to replace it right now and so………….well, that was just the end of it!

The class presented it to her, and they even had it engraved for her. How amazing is that?

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In the middle of this crazy, horrid weekend of pain, this blessing could not have come at a more opportune time. In the better moments, she has loaded the iPod with all of her previous apps and music and added new movies and music to it. She’s been able to watch movies while pacing the house or laying in bed or on the couch. She’s been playing games to distract herself and quite honestly, it has been the perfect gift that came at the perfect time.

Thank You! Thank you for giving, for sacrificing, for caring for and supporting!

WGSS Grads of 2011, you have made a HUGE difference in this young lady’s life. She (and we) will never forget you or your kindness. You have given from yourselves and invested in the future. You should be SO proud of yourselves. I am so thankful to you. May your futures be bright and full of hope, peace, joy and love; and may you be abundantly blessed in such greater measures than you’ve given out.

Delayed Intensification Stage 2

Angelica started the final Intensive stage of Chemotherapy last Friday April 29.

Her and Jon headed into BC Children’s Hospital for her 10am appointment and aside from being grouchy because she couldn’t eat – it was a fairly uneventful morning.

She wasn’t allowed to eat because she had a procedure where she is lightly sedated and they don’t want her to possibly vomit and then choke on it…and so, no eating or drinking 6 hours before the procedures. Typically she has these procedures, first thing in the morning, but for whatever reason, this one was a bit later.

So last Friday she received Chemo into her spinal fluid (via a lumbar puncture), and two types of Chemo intravenously into her port. One of them she seems to tolerate with no problem and the other she tolerates ok, but not as well. She is also back on a steroid for a one week on, one week off and then repeated….

The steroid can cause a host of issues – like a diabetic state, increased appetite, flushed cheeks, increased mood swings, insomnia and the worst one for Geli is that (last time) in the first week off, she felt some pain in her joints and then in the second week off she was in a LOT of pain for about 4 days. Even morphine and codeine didn’t take away the pain it only just barely relieved it. Some kids are hospitalized because the joint pain can be so bad…..we are definitely praying that is not the case this time around and that she is able to tolerate everything this round.

Angelica basically spent the weekend on the couch. She felt pretty rough on Saturday and Sunday and by Monday she hadn’t really slept all weekend and was crying. Instead of sending her off to school, I sent her back up to bed with a gravol to try to get her some sleep. She rested a little but didn’t get enough sleep. Stupid steroid!

Then on Wednesday she received the chemo shots into her thigh muscles and that appointment is a looooooong boring, 4 hour appointment. It takes about an hour to get signed in and to process the request for the chemo to be delivered to the clinic. They won’t process the order for the chemo (through the pharmacy) until the patient is physically signed in, and then after the injections, she’s got to hang around the clinic for an additional 3 hours just in case she has a anaphylactic reaction to the drug. Apparently its a possibility with this drug and the more times that you receive the drug, the greater the likelihood that you might possibly have a reaction.

So she goes in and hangs out and watches movies for 4 hours. Fun, fun!

She felt pretty good today and she only has 2 more doses of the steroid and then her week off starts.

The way this stage works out is that there are two parts…..The first 4 weeks and then the second 4 weeks…

The first 4 weeks looks like this….

Day 1 – Chemo via LP and IV
Day 4, or 5 or 6 – Chemo into her thighs
Day 8 – Chemo via IV
Day 15 – Chemo via IV
Day 22 nothing

first half is over…..

Day 29 – Chemo via IV
Day 30 – Chemo via IV
Day 31 – Chemo via IV
Day 32 – Chemo via IV

Day 36 – Chemo via IV
Day 37 – Chemo via IV
Day 38 – Chemo via IV
Day 39 – Chemo via IV

Day 43 – Chemo via IV and Intramuscular

Day 50 – Chemo via IV

and then we wait until Day 57 or until her counts come up enough to start Maintenance…..

There are the steroids and the oral chemo that I’ve not mentioned and well, really it all “seems” like a lot and that’s because it is a lot to deal with and keep straight, BUT……..we’ve done this round before and we are trying to stay focused on the fact that every day we finish, brings us one day closer to the end of this intensive year of chemotherapy.

Today is day 7…we have one week under our belts with only 7 weeks of treatment to go……

Angelica had a decent day today. She stayed at home because she needed to get a bunch of work done for her Homestay Teacher. The biggest challenge today is managing her blood sugar levels by food which is complicated by the fact that all she wants to eat are carbs and high sugar foods, add in the steroid which makes her feel hungry ALL THE TIME and coming up with creative ideas for what to eat is pretty much a full time job right now.

She has her next trip into BC Children’s tomorrow morning.

We are asking for you to pray as Geli goes through this last round before maintenance. She needs to be able to stay positive mentally and emotionally as we make our way over the next 2 months. She is tired. This has been a very long 10 months and just before she started this round she was feeling pretty good. She was feeling very normal, probably the most normal that she has since this journey started and to all of the sudden feel pretty crappy again….it’s a hard blow to take.

And also that she wouldn’t feel so wiped this weekend. It would be nice for her to be able to enjoy the weekends with our family.

Thank you for all your support and prayers. We would not be where we are at now without all of your love and support and encouragement and prayers.

We are SO THANKFUL!

Out With the Old & In With the New

I was talking with my dad the other day and asking how much it would cost to get new carpets put in on my stairs….

The carpet that was there was the original carpeting and the house is 15 years old. There was only one other owner before us, but still….there is 15 years of someone else toenails and dead skin and coffee spills, not to mention that those particular carpets were a lovely off white color.

Bare Stairs

Old Icky Carpet – GONE!

They probably looked AMAZING when the house was first built, but let’s just say that after almost 2 years of our family trucking up and down those sucker a million times a day and even with multiple steam cleans over the almost 2 year period….off white carpeting (on the stairs, no less) is probably not the best color for a family of 7.

Literally, We’d steam clean them and within an hour, there would be a NEW stain. It was so frustrating because no matter how hard I tried to keep them clean, the stairs just looked disgusting.

So, I asked my dad about pricing and he mentioned that he might have something at the office that would be perfect…

My dad owns a flooring company in Langley, BC – “Kennedy Floors”.

The next day I came home from running a quick errand and Xandra mentioned that Papa had dropped off a carpet sample and that Uncle Tim would be coming the next day to install the carpet if I liked it.

Wow, talk about service. Ask and receive! BAM, just like that!

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Thrilled to be getting rid of it

The carpet looked great next to our walls AND, it was a great pattern and color for a high traffic area. So we said, YES PLEASE!!!

My brother showed up the next morning and ripped all the carpet off the stairs. Josiah was LOVING just hanging out with his uncle for the day and my brother is amazing. He worked around having a 3 yr old “helper” who is well….he is just so very helpful!!!

It was interesting trying to keep the baby occupied because I couldn’t put him down on the floor or he would gotten into everything, but to get new carpeting……it was so worth it. We hung out on the couch some and checked out what was going on the back yard….it was really exciting stuff, like watching the grass grow!

Hanging Out on the Couch

Fortunately the baby took a quick nap, and before Tim put the new carpet in, I was able to paint around the edges of the
stairs.

Touch Ups

Downstairs Hallway Color – a Dark Grey

Here is a picture of the finished stairs from today…

New and Clean

sorry ’bout the crappy cell phone photo

The lovely piece of wood in the left hand side of the picture is our custom made baby gate. Judah can crawl up faster than you can imagine, but he hasn’t quite figured out that standing or just turning around is not the smartest move and he’s definitely not clued in as to how to crawl down the stairs. I really must work on that with him, but until then…..Jon made the handy dandy piece of wood gate! It’s pretty classy and even has rubber edges so as not to damage our floor or banister. Purdy, aint it?

For about a week after, Tim installed the carpet, Josiah would walk up and down the stair and say to either Jon or I, “I sure love your new stairs. They are the best!

This is Heavy!

Using the mallet and the kicker

I think he just really enjoyed the time spent with Tim. I have to admit, it was nice to have a day of hanging around with my oldest little brother. He’s pretty amazing. And I can’t wait for him and Daisy to have their baby. Any day now…….I’m so excited to be an aunt again. I love my nieces and nephews. Family is so much fun!

My Little Brother

And new carpet is pretty cool, too! Thanks Dad! I love you!

(part 2 is coming…)

To All Who Stand By Us…….

8:47amWe are all going through our own things in life. All of us….Angelica, Jon, Me, the kids….my parents, my sisters and brothers…..my extended family and even you. We are all going through things in our lives, some of them difficult, some of them painful, some of them uncomfortable or challenging….we all go through stuff.

While Angelica is weathering her own journey and we are there supporting her, encouraging her, championing her…..it’s her journey. She will continue on, through the good days and the bad days.

She will carry on through the good times, the hard times, the difficult times, the excruciating times and what may seem like the impossible times, but she will carry on….

Sometimes, she may need us to hold her up or even to carry her…..to catch her if she doesn’t feel that she has the strength to go on.

Just like her, we are all going through our own journeys. We have days that seem impossible and yet we know we must carry on and that we will get through this….even if it seems (or worse, if it FEELS) impossible.

I had one of those days yesterday. “Those days” remind me to be compassionate to others who may, themselves, be going through one of those days…..or maybe even a series of those days (or weeks or months)….

Some days are tough. Some days you just don’t feel like you have the strength to go even one more step and yet you must…..and so you do. Your limbs feel like mud. You are so tired and all you feel like doing is crying…..and so you do.

It’s okay. We all go through “those days”. You’re not alone. I’m not alone. We are not alone.

Earlier this week, someone from our community send me this video and I won’t lie, this week has been a rough one for me….and yet the words of this song kept playing on repeat in my head….knowing I’m loved and supported and championed and that I have so many who “stand by me” even when I feel like I’m too tired to go on. Knowing that I have those who will catch me if I stumble or fall….it’s such a huge thing…..Thank you! I pray that each one of you will see and know those who are there for you, in your time of need!

I Won’t Let Go

It’s like a storm
That cuts a path
It’s breaks your will
It feels like that

You think your lost
But your not lost
On your own
Your not alone
I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
If you can’t cope
I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
And I wont let go

It hurts my heart
To see you cry
I know it’s dark
This part of life
Oh it finds us all
And we’re too small
To stop the rain
Oh but when it rains

I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
And you can’t cope
I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight

And I wont let you fall
Don’t be afraid to fall
I’m right here to catch you
I wont let you down
It wont get you down
Your gonna make it
Yea I know you can make it

Cause I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
And you can’t cope
And I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
And I wont let go
Oh I’m gonna hold you
And I wont let go
Wont let you go
No I wont

My Heart is So Very Full

2010 was a rough year and I think that’s putting it mildly.

We had some amazing ups and some really horrific downs. I could try to just focus on the positive things, but some of those positive things would not have happened without the negative things happening first and so it’s all one giant messy tangle of good and bad.

As I (and we as a family) start off this new year and I look back at all that 2010 was…one thing stands out in my mind.

I’m SO THANKFUL.

We would not be in the position that we are without you. You have made these past 6 months bearable. Were it not for you, I’m not sure what kind of shape I’d be in right now.

I’m starting out the New Year closer to a position of strength than I ever thought possible. What do I mean by that???

Well, I have felt so beaten up and bruised and shattered for most of the past 6 months. I think that the shock of Geli being diagnosed with cancer combined with the birth of Judah and our family being thrown into chaos and separated for so often and so long, combined with the stress of Geli being SO sick, while dealing with all the other kids needs and a newborn, along with a Judah’s digestive issues……well, the stress of everything has seemed so overwhelming and I have been really struggling in the last half of this past year.

Because of Angelica’s health, our family has been quite secluded and there have been times that I’ve “felt” so alone. Most of the time I’ve been way to busy just trying to stay on top of the family and house and I’ve not had time to really feel alone, but there are definitely moments….moments when the walls of my house feel way too close and I desperately need to escape and so I…..run to the grocery store to pick something up. That’s so exciting, isn’t it? I’ve not had the energy to actually “go out” or even to just go and sit at a coffee shop. I’ve been too tired to “do” anything and my 15 minutes of grocery shopping about does me in for the evening. I’ve gone to bed at 8:30-9pm more nights than I’ve been awake past then and while I know that dealing with cancer, a newborn and a family of 7 is a fair amount to accomplish in a day….I still end up going to bed feeling so unproductive and unaccomplished.

And this………this is where you all come in.

It’s been rough and I’ve felt overwhelmed and yet……..there you are.

You have given meals. You’ve sent cards and e-mails and letters. You’ve left messages. You’ve brought groceries. You’ve given gift cards. You’ve helped to clean my house. You’ve taken the kids. You’ve brought food and groceries. You’ve left comments. You’ve given financially. You’ve given gifts to my children. You’ve sent notes and cards and postcards to the children. You’ve lifted our spirits. You’ve helped to carry us along when we were too tired to take another step. You’ve come and taken me grocery shopping when I didn’t think I could go. You came and spent New Years Day with us and made it wonderful and made me cry because I thought we were going to be alone and you made it so special. You’ve taken my kids for sleepovers and out for treats. You’ve co-ordinated help and meals for us. You’ve donated your tips to us. You’ve shaved your hair to raise money for us. You’ve prayed for us. You’ve made birthday’s special. You helped us to have an amazing mini-vacation, one that my kids still talk about (even yesterday it was mentioned). You’ve continued to leave comments just to let us know that you are there and are thinking about us….even if I’ve not posted recently. You’ve folded laundry & washed bathrooms and floors. You’ve kept the church running so that we were free to be with our family. You are amazing. There is so much more I’ve not listed here.

This Christmas we were blown away.

We were overwhelmed with love and support. I’ve said that before, but it was so true. I’m so hesitant to start mentioning names or groups because I know that once I start, for sure I will miss some people out and I don’t believe that any gift is unimportant.

I think that we are like a body. Every single part is important. Even something seemingly insignificant as a fingernail…..is important. You really notice how important your fingernail or toenail is when it’s ripped off, don’t you? I’m not saying that you’re a toenail, but that no part is too small or insignificant. No gift has been too small or insignificant. Every single one of you is so important and you have played out YOUR ROLE in our life exquisitely.

We felt waves and waves and waves of love washing over us this holiday season. We felt completely flooded and even overwhelmed with love and support. I sat on the floor one night and just cried because it was so overwhelming, in a good way. As I sat there, it was like a movie played in my mind and all the good things from this past year scrolled through and I was so grateful.

I’m not alone.

I’M NOT ALONE!

That night, those words rang out over and over and over inside my brain. They started as a whisper and grew louder and louder and louder until it was all I could hear. I’M NOT ALONE. I’m so sorry if I’ve not mentioned it before or if I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the negative things in my life that I just couldn’t see it but I’M NOT ALONE!

You’ve been here with me. You are supporting us. You are loving us. You have been here to help us. You are carrying us. You are amazing and I (and we as a family) are not alone.

My heart is so very, very full. Full of thankfulness, full of love, full of the knowledge that we are not alone.

This is an amazing start to 2011 and I am so thankful that you are here sharing it with me.

May your year be full of love and joy and peace and health, & family and friends.

Getting Away from it All (part 2)

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and even before we got there, the kids were already asking to go swimming.

So we all got our bathing suits on and headed back to the pool.

Me

I really was on this vacation – see?!?

The pool had actually been closed for maintenance and had just re-opened all clean and sparkly on the day before we arrived. Between that and the fact that we were the only ones in the pool the entire time we were there…..it was perfect for someone with a compromised immune system.

So Happy

Josiah was SO excited to be able to be swimming. He spent the majority of the time in the hot tub, and so did I. We typically would go swimming every week, but, back in the summer, we had to cancel our membership to the Walnut Grove Rec Centre because the pool is just not a great place for Geli and we didn’t want the other kids picking something up and bringing it home and so it was such a treat to be able to swim as much as we wanted for a few days.

Thrilled to be swimming

Jon and Jeremy and Judah hit the weight room before they came swimming…..

Working Out

I think this was the most exciting part of the weight room – for Jeremy…..

The draw of the Fitness Room

We don’t have cable and so it was such a treat.

So Happy

Judah worked on some push ups…..gotta build up that upper body strength, eh?

Girls ready to side

This is the 80 ft water slide that is inside the hotel. It was AWESOME! It’s almost pitch black inside the tube and you can get going pretty fast. It took a while and a little bit of coaxing, but even Josiah went down the slide.

Siah on the Slide

There were lots of smiles….

Wet Smiles

and a lot of silliness…..

Silly Faces

And SO. MUCH. SWIMMING!

Frog Boy

It was so amazing to step away from everything. To get away from our house, from school, from work, from cleaning, for deadlines, from everything and to just do something totally fun together as a family. After Swimming on Tuesday morning, Jeremy snuggled up next to Jon and looked close into his eyes and said, “Thank you Daddy. Thank you SO MUCH for bringing us here. This is the BEST EVER!” All the kids mentioned many times, just how thankful and grateful they were to be able to get away and to stay at the hotel and to go swimming.

Everyone relaxed and it felt like everyone was able to catch their breaths and de-stress a little.

It’s amazing how little time it took, once we got home, for everyone to try to pick up the stress again. Xani came to me panicking about school and homework and I actually told her that for that night, we were still on vacation and that she got to relax and take it easy and then tomorrow she could make a list of everything she needed to get done and to then start plugging away at it.

This is kind of where we are at. Times away like this are so precious, because we do kind of have this weight of stress that we are living under. It’s like our reserves for dealing with normal (stressful) situations are all gone and we have barely enough to just hang on in each moment. I know this is not forever, but it does wear on me to see it playing out in my children. Children are not supposed to be stressed like this.

But, not to focus on the negative…..our time away was so fabulous. So needed. Such a blessing. So fun…..it was simply amazing.

We are so grateful to Jon’s parents for coming with us. It drastically reduced the kid to adult ratio…we were only out numbered by one. It was a blast to hang out with and to be able to spend some time away with them.

All of Us

We are so thankful to the Super 8 in Aldergrove for giving us a great deal. We so hope to be able to come back again.

And we are so grateful that we were even afforded this amazing time away. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The opportunity to escape was such a gift.

If you are interested in seeing the rest of the pictures from our time away, click here...