Sunday, April 27, 2014

the Ani & Torin visit!

If you've been following us on our bone marrow transplant journey, y'all will all recognize Ani!!  

However, if you haven't been following us on our bone marrow transplant journey, you won't know who she is, so I shall tell you:

Ani is my youngest sister.  When we left for transplant, Emma & I had to leave my other kids/hubby at home to go almost 1000 miles for transplant.  We stayed away for six months, and Ani came to help.  My niece, Kyrie also came to help during that time.  

Ani helped us drive home from transplant and that was the last time we've seen her.

This past week, she stayed in isolation to ensure she wasn't bringing any illness to our home, and they came to visit!!  We were all so excited...and still are.  They are so fun to have.

So, here's Ani soon after she arrived.  The kids were meeting their dog for the first time:
What do you mean you can't see Ani?  :)  haha....  She arrived after traveling all night, and she wasn't as put together as she wanted to be for a photo.  So you can see her blond hair around Rhys' head (the one in the red dress).  And, maybe we'll get another photo later!

And, you've probably already seen this one of Emma holding the doggy.  Jack liked Emma a lot (this was Ani/Torin's dog).

Here's Violet with the doggy:

Then Rhys with the doggy running away from her:

Trampoline time with Uncle Torin:

Emma being goofy as usual:

He kept bouncing and they kept flying (he was careful):

Then Ella decided to have a picnic with a cup of milk...and a straw:

She really liked it when it bubbled when she blew in it:

Ella using her super powers of cuteness:

Ella loves Jack (the dog), but I haven't gotten a photo of it yet.  She'll give him big hugs.  The kids love to chase the dog around the backyard, which he LOVES.  I didn't expect him to do as well with little kids as he does.

It's been fun having them visit!  They are the first visitors we've had since transplant (we are still in isolation).

Emma is feeling better from her central line removal and port placement.  She still is afraid of the idea of taking a bath or shower like a normal person, but she'll be doing that soon!!  (Usually she has to be careful to keep her central line dressing from getting wet.  So, bath time has been a bit complicated for months.)

More photos to come...

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I walked into the living room to see Ella sitting on the coffee table.

Next to her was the container of cereal.

She was sticking it onto her face while she ate an adorable little slob...or a young child whose mother was in the other room for too long.

I can't handle this little girl sometimes!  I love her personality.  So silly and sweet!


We asked Violet to put away a coloring book that was in our room.  She gladly did but didn't notice there were colored pencils in it, and they spilled on the ground as she was walking out.

This was the aftermath.  A laying-in-the-same-spot-not-moving little Violet.
She fell over and laid that way for a few minutes and then got up and put them away.

It cracked me up.

Kids are so silly!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

We hope you all had a great Easter!  Ours was grand.  

Easter Egg Hunting started a little bit later than we meant it to today, and by that time, we weren't sure if it was going to start raining.  So, we did it upstairs in the playroom.  (They had all just taken baths too, hence the wet hair.)

We dressed the kids in their best...uh...pajamas...

They walked upstairs in age order.  The hope was to let Ella and Rhys have a chance at the eggs too.  The ones on the floor were only for them.  The bigger kids got to take the higher ground.

Trying to take photos of kids is similar to hunting.  It takes too much effort to chase down the bigger kids, and it's easier to "hunt" the younger ones.  So, that's why you see more of the little ones!

Oh, and did I mention that the boy didn't even have any pants on?
Yep.  He's wearing his superman boxer briefs.

I hadn't realized it until the egg hunt had started.

What can I say.  We dress to impress on Easter.

(Okay, we really used to, but it's like I have lost my ability to plan things!  So, now they are down to wearing underwear and pajamas for their Easter clothes.  Good thing is, we can really only go up from here!)

Then something tragic happened.

My bounce flash batteries died mid-Easter Egg Hunt.


But I decided not to.  I mean, everyone else uses their normal camera flash, right?  So, I did.  And, I'm reminded of why I don't do that.  Shadows everywhere!  Brightness and gentle, consistent light.

Not being able to control the direction of the light drives me nutty.

When all was said and done, we headed downstairs to check out their loot (and to change the batteries on my bounce flash!).

Then, like all families seem to do, it was time for our yearly Easter photo.  This was the best I got.  I got like four attempts, and then Ella walked away.

Goals for next year will include:

- No visible underwear.
- If the kids wear pajamas again, at least have them be new Easter pajamas.

For our Christian friends, we hope you had a special day celebrating the resurrection of Christ.  And, for our non-Christian friends, we hope you had a great day too.

Still trying to figure out where this whole Easter Egg thing came from.  Guess I could look it up some time...

baby playmat

While I was chillaxin today, Rhys was digging in her closet, and found this (that's Tyler in the photo, not case you were confused):

She thought it was the coolest toy ever.

The only problem was, it was stored folded in half and snapped closed.  She had no idea it opened up like it does in the photo above.

So, she walked around, wearing it like a diaper:

Ella, being the wanna-be-Rhys-and-wanting-to-do-and-play-with-everything-Rhys-touches, had to have her turn...of wearing the baby playmat as a diaper.

It started off mildly insane:

And got worse:

And, then somehow, Ella came off victor over some stuffed giraffe:

The first photo (with Tyler and the playmat being laid open) happened after all of these photos above.  When Rhys saw that it opened up and she could sit and play on it, she gasped in shock.

Meanwhile, it was time for the kids to go to bed.

So, Rhys did what any good child would do.

She took the playmat to sleep on.

But, first, she had to do the obligatory licking of the mirror (pretty sure she was being a cat):

(Doesn't Ella's hair curl so cute?!!)

Rhys and Ella love this toy.  It seriously makes them behave like they are insane people.  And, no, Rhys didn't get to sleep on it tonight.

Anyway, so that was quite an entertaining part of the evening!

Earlier today, we went on another bike ride.  The kids rode in the bike trailers, as usual.  I had Emma and Violet in mine this time.  Usually I have Tyler and Rhys.  Emma and Violet thought it was fun to ride with me "even if you don't go as fast as daddy does".

This was after our ride.  Ella had fallen asleep:

Then she woke up:

And, then she cried:

Here's Violet and Emma:

Then they played outside in the new-sanded sand table.  :)

In case you missed my post on FB, Emma's BK virus levels have increased tremendously.  The BK virus is the one that caused her to have lots of bleeding in her bladder after transplant.  Her kidney levels are borderline, almost in the high range (meaning they are getting closer to showing signs they aren't functioning properly).  So, we are a little concerned about that.

You can read the whole FB post here, if you missed it:

Friday, April 18, 2014

cutting their hairs...

Believe it or not, I did narrow down the photos to just a "few", but there are still far too many of them.

Ella's hair was pretty scraggly.  (Straggly?  Both?)  So, I decided it was time to do a nice trim.  She was so cute.  I could hardly stand it.  I don't know what's wrong with this girl, but she was born knowing how to put on the charm.  haha.

Some before photos (I suppose I could have brushed her hair):

The obligatory-pointing-and-laughing:

The I'm-going-to-be-cute-while-watching-"Too cute"-on-TV:

And, some afters:

I didn't get a good photo of it, but Ella's hair is curling so much better now - all around her cute little head.

And, then we're to the crazy-eyed-Rhys:

On her right side, there was a chunk of hair that was short (hmmm...could this explain the unexplained strand of blonde hair we found the other day?), so I cut her hair all to one length.

It was before we left for transplant, the last time I've cut Rhys' hair.  It was months before we left.  So, maybe a year ago!

She had wanted to cut her hair off when Violet cut her hair off a month or two ago.  Violet cut her hair off to keep it short until Emma's hair grows out.  But, Daddy wasn't a fan of the idea of letting Rhys participate too, even though she wanted to.

I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that Rhys cut all the hair off the top of her head 18 months ago.  If you missed it, here's a flashback to it:

This was her before (back then):


Anyway, so we've been enjoying her hair grown out for a while.  The "old bald man" hair style wasn't quite the look we were going for...

So, now Rhys gets to keep her hair short until Emma's grows out, like she wanted to before (unless she decides to grow it out sooner).

Freshly cut & damp:

Then styled and looking super cute:

And, yes.  Her cheeks are as kissable, if not more so, than they look.

Then, Violet...

She wanted a hair trim, so I trimmed it.  Considering she's a 15 year old trapped in a 5 year old's body, she was blow drying her hair:

She really wanted bangs.  She wanted them super short.  I cut them longer, but then she wanted them shorter.  So, we went shorter.  I was a wee bit nervous about it!

I figure (a) it's HER hair, and, (b) we're in isolation!  So, if it looks crappy, it's not like anyone will see it.  <insert evil laugh>

It looks cute when it's styled perfectly, but if it moves very much, it doesn't look quite right.  I'm going to have to work on it a little bit.  She wants to be able to wear it straight across her forehead too, which prevented me from being able to cut it like side swiped bangs like I usually do...  I think I'll try razoring the tips a little bit.

She asked me to cut her bangs EVEN SHORTER after we took these pics.  I'm not thinking we'll be doing that.  haha.  I do have my limits!  But, she totally wants the rest of her hair shorter, so maybe we'll do that tomorrow.  I'm thinking she wants it right to her jaw.

And, we finally trimmed Emma's hair for the first time.  But, that's all that was done.  A trim to make her hair even all around.  She didn't want any specific style cut into it.  Just let it grow, baby!  Yes, that means she has a minor mullet, but such is life.  When you have no hair for a long time, a mullet is awesome.  haha.  I didn't get an "after" pic (it was a little hectic by then), but I'll have to get one and post her before/after.  It's not a huge difference.