Thursday, January 31, 2013


I had another follow up MRI on January 3rd. This is what I get dressed in before my scans. Thankfully this scan was like my others and I'm still considered stable. The tumor is not growing. I begin my second to last round of chemo next Tuesday, February 5th. Hallelujah. I cannot wait for this maintenance chemo to be over. I'm sick of being knocked down, tired, itchy, no appetite, on loads of prescriptions and frustrated. I pray that I will feel different when it's all over, and that the tumor will stay away. Now that a new year has begun, insurance plan has started over too. EOB's are slowly coming in with amounts I'll owe when I'm billed by the doctor until I reach my deductibles again.
 My 1 year cancerversary was on January 8th. We celebrated by going to dinner at Ruth's Chris steakhouse in Park City. The Ashursts had a gift card and came with us.
We've both grown some hair in a year. Cody's on his chin and mine on my head, where hair belongs.
 My brothers son, Parker, turned 8 in December and he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on January 5th. It was special to be there and get Tucker excited for his baptism this fall.

Trains and guns

For Cole's actual birthday we went to the Dairy Keen for lunch.
 Then we went up Daniels canyon with our friends, the Ashursts, to shoot guns and burn paper. Cody has a couple boxes of patient charts that need to be shredded, but our shredder can't handle the load, so he decided to burn them.
 Of course there was a stream right by where we stopped and the kids threw rocks, sticks and snow in it the whole time.
 Birthday grin!
 Jessica, Joe and Miles. He was so happy eating the stick.
 I'm clueless when it comes to guns. Cody has been trying to train me for years, but it's not my cup of tea. Aubrey came to me a couple weeks ago all excited because Dad told her she could get a BBgun when she turns 8. What?! No she didnt. Cody has been brain washing my children. I'm trying to convince him that maybe when the boys are 12 and in scouts, we can think about a gun, but he thinks that's the age they'll need/want a shotgun. Oh my redneck, this is not something we talked about before marriage.

 I had a little bit of batter left over from cupcakes the night before to make a small birthday cake for Cole. We didn't have any candles, but he didn't care. Happy 4th buddy!

Where a Kid can be a Kid

We celebrated Cole's 4th birthday at ChuckECheese last Friday night in Sandy. His birthday is the 26th, but the 25th was a better day to celebrate for us. All the grand and great grandparents showed up along with our sisters. Ethan, Aubrey and Blake rode the Merry go round.
 Tucker scored most of his tickets from this game.
 Blake's favorite ride.
 Blake and Ethan
 Birthday boy with his cupcake. All he wanted was the cream cheese frosting.
 Heather, my Dad, Ethan and Dan.
 Kristin and I.
 My grandparents Grant, baby Austin, my Mom, Tucker, grandpa Foster and Aubrey.
 Kristin, Chris, Mickey, Cody and Heather
Cole is a spoiled boy and received many gifts, with either the themes of Angry Birds or Salt Lake Bees.

Taking advantage of the cabin

Tucker and Aubrey didn't have school because of the end of the term on the 18th. Cody's parents wanted Cole and Blake for the weekend and took them Thursday night. We live so close to my Foster family's cabin, and rarely take advantage of it, so I called my Grandpa and he was thrilled that I wanted to go up for the day. I've never gone up in the winter without Cody or my Mom. Now that I'm a big girl, I thought I'd have a fun day with my kids.
 The roads were cleared enough to drive in to the cabin. There are 3 snowmobiles for the cabin and 2 of them were in the barn. It took me 20 minutes, but I finally was able to get one started. The kids and I drove around the field, went sledding and made words in the snow for my missionary brother, Elder Foster. The air in Salt Lake had a horrible inversion the weekend we went and the skies were so blue and clear at the cabin. A glorious afternoon.
 I taught Tucker how to drive and make turns. After I was sure he could do it, I let him drive Aubrey around the field a couple times. Pure joy! He technically isn't supposed to drive by himself until he's 12, but we all bend the rules occasionally, right?
 The day was complete after we drank hot chocolate from the clear bottoms up glasses.
 I have to admit I was so proud of myself that I got the snowmobile started and we had a fun day by ourselves. My goal is to get up to the cabin every couple months. Spring and fall can be tricky because the snow starts to melt, it's muddy, and the horses aren't around yet. Not that I'll ever tackle the horses by myself. Definitely need Cody or Grandpa for that.
 We made the letters a bit too big, but if you zoom in, you can see we wrote Elder Foster in the snow. The "R" in Foster is messed up.
We had school off on Monday because of the holiday. My friend, Jessica was able to go with us then with 2 of her children. I didn't even take my camera on this trip, but she did. I got a snowmobile started, hooked up to the sled and we did some more sledding, ate lunch and enjoyed being away from home.
 Tucker and Winter. Aubrey and Cole. Jessica and I had the babies with us, Blake and Miles.

Ski Days

Cody and I grew up skiing and have been excited to have our kids learn to ski as well. We decided we weren't going to do diaper skiing and wait until our kids were 5 before we put them in ski school. Tucker learned a couple years ago and we were able to take him with us a couple times last year before I found out about my tumor. On January 12th, we took Tucker and Aubrey skiing at Brighton. Aubrey was in a lesson all morning and we were able to ski with Tucker. He loves going through the trees. He had a great day until his final run when he was run over from behind by a snowboarder. Cody had to take him to ski patrol just to make sure he didn't break any ribs.
 When Aubrey was done with her lesson we met for lunch in the lodge. We happened to see my cousin and his wife too. Loren and I took ski school together when we were 7.
 After yummy expensive Nachos, chili and hot chocolate, we took both kids down the slope. Aubrey is learning, but she didn't quite get turning or stopping down. I took her back to the car and Tucker and Cody did his final run.
 My Grandpa Foster gave all the great grandkids snow hats for Christmas. Aubrey received compliments on hers the whole day she was skiing. She'd just smile and say "thanks". She needs more practice, but she loves it and had fun. That really is the main goal of skiing - no tears and happy, warm kids. The weekend we skied at Brighton the temps were super freezing. It was -22 degrees that night in Midway and one of our pipes froze. My toes and fingers were cold while skiing, but the kids were champs and didn't complain.
Cody had work off on the 11th and went skiing at the Canyons with his friend Ryan Taylor. They are both doctors, and had to get their powder runs in before getting back to patients. Cody is growing a beard and he titled this picture, Face shots  + beard = chin igloo.
 On Monday, January 28th, we pulled Tucker and Aubrey out of school for the day to go skiing at the Canyons. We had free day passes from going to the Warren Miller ski movie, but they can't be used on the weekends, so we chose a Monday Cody didn't have to work. The Canyons has an all day ski school program we decided to put Aubrey in. Little did we know that they have a Locals only program too. For $39, Aubrey had a 6 hour private lesson, lunch and rentals. Normally this costs $183. It pays to live in Utah! It was awesome because she ended up being the only kid in her class. A sweet deal for all of us. Tucker struggled a bit at first with his fear of being hit by a skier or snowboarder again, but he did well and we skied mainly blues all day. It snowed over the weekend so we had powder, blue skies and a wonderful day. All of our legs hurt on Tuesday. Skiing with a beginner is more work. Lots of pizzas/wedges that make your thighs and calves burn. Aubrey learned so much more in this 1 on 1 class and we could see her making turns and progress. Our next ski day will be at Deer Valley with some passes Cody received from a patient.
We seem to only take our camera out while on the chair lift or resting in the lodge.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Washoe Valley, NV

Cody had New Years Eve and Day off this year, so we decided to pack up and drive to the Reno area to visit Cody's cousin and his family for New Years. We left early Saturday morning and arrived late afternoon. They live between Reno and Carson City in a pretty valley called Washoe. Russell and Laurel have 3 kids close in age to our kids. They were able to meet and play this summer at a family reunion, so we knew they'd have a blast being together again. Sunday we took a drive over to Lake Tahoe. This first picture is at the beach in South Lake Tahoe. We drove around the lake to the northside and then back to Reno and to the Washoe Valley were the Woolstenhulmes live.
 Tucker took this picture for us. It was sooo cold by the lake with the wind blowing. Cody wanted to ski so badly. Heavenly ski resort is in the middle of town. Lake Tahoe is one of the deepest lakes in the world. I've been there in the summer many times, and so has Cody, but we've never been in the winter. It was really pretty with the snow everywhere.
Tucker and Eli got along great playing our Kindle. I should probably have my kids have less "screen" time, but when I need to rest, it's the easy solution. I think Eli is more sad that the Kindle left than us. Every morning he would politely ask me if he could play a game.
They have a very large toy room and it looked like this pretty much the entire time we were there. It has a door though to keep the cold and noise out. All 7 kids are in the below picture.
 Laurel had been waiting for a blue sky morning with the frost on the trees to get out and take some pictures. The fog is usually pretty thick and they had a sunny morning. I joined her for some photography.
 It reminds me of Midway with our frosty mornings.
 On New Years Eve we drove over to old Virginia City mining town. Virginia City was the most important settlement between Denver and San Fransisco in the late 1800's and helped Nevada gain it's statehood, although the population of Nevada did not warrant statehood at the time.  At it's peak, the population of Virginia City was about 30,000.  Now it is about 1,000.  The Comstock Load produced $700 million worth of gold and silver in those days.  It is impossible to imagine what it would be worth today. (I totally copied and pasted Laurels description from her blog.)
 The Catholic cathedral, St. Mary's in the Mountains. They had free tours. The inside was beautiful with all the stained glass windows.

 We also took a tour of the Best & Belcher mine shaft.  This was our tour guide Mark. He looked like he could have been an original miner and he badly needed a denture.  There were hundreds of mines here in the day and I believe he said only seven of them made the owners rich.  The Best & Belcher was not one of those!  You actually enter the mine shaft at the back of a saloon (the city is built into a hillside) so this is the only mine tour open in the winter.
 We were instructed to wear hard hats because the average height of a man back in the day was 5'4". That means I'm the average height of a man back in the 1800s. My how things have changed.
Cody and Russell. I learned a lot about the Calderwoods during our short visit. These guys would talk about summers spent with their Grandparents in Teton Valley, ID. Laurel and I would just laugh and roll our eyes at their stories. We both married into the family the same year. She is a talented artist and has a blog about her paper art.
Tucker and Aubrey exploring.

 The Silver Queen consists of 3,261 silver dollars and 28 twenty dollar gold pieces. She's found in the Silver Dollar hotel in a saloon with a wedding chapel in the back. Cody and Russell said that one of their aunts married in the chapel many years ago.
 The sign in the 2nd window says, "Painless Dentistry".
Kate, Aubrey and Eli
Blake and Kalli. I just loved her with her crazy hair and fun personality. She would come and run into my arms everyday. Our babies were like 2 peas in a pod. So many of the same 2 year old mannerisms.
We had a great time visiting and learning about history. That evening, after eating out at Red Robin for dinner, the adults stayed up until midnight playing games. I rang in the New Year with a caramel apple I bought in Virginia City. Unfortunately we couldn't find any news stations showing the ball drop in New York City. Maybe it played at 9:00pm when NYC was really celebrating the New Year.

 Cody drove all the way to their house, so I finally got my turn on the drive home. Cody decided to keep Aubrey company in the back. Our kids are awesome travelers. We made the drive in 8.5 hours including lunch and rest stops.
 We drove home New Years Day. Thanks Woolstenhulmes for letting us stay with you.