Snow Day

February 15th, 2009

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We built our first snow family in our home.  The kids were really creative because they added a snow dog and a dead snow gerbil.  Yes, Gerald the gerbil died a few months back, he has now been immortalized in snow at least until it melts.

Which are the people and which are the snowmen

Which are the people and which are the snowmen?

Em created a snow dog to represent tucker.

Em created a snow dog to represent tucker.

The snow gerbil has a halo and wings, because "he is dead" as abby puts it.

The snow gerbil has a halo and wings, because "he is dead" as Abby puts it.

Abby's sleeping place

February 14th, 2009

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Last night Abby wanted to sleep somewhere other than her bed. I gave her a list of options, and one of them was in the bath tub. It was more of a joke than serious. I told her to figure it out and left her to decide on her own. When Marv and I came back up to check on her last night, we found her in the tub fast asleep. I laugh even now as I think about it.
Asleep in the tub

You know this is going to show up in her wedding video in the future.

The next morning we asked her how comfortable she was and she said it was very comfortable.  No she has not seen “I am Legend” where Will Smith’s character slept in the tub because he was afraid of the zombies outside.

Dodged another cancer bullet

February 7th, 2009

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Jolyn gave us a little scare this week.  She went in for her check up with the dermatologist who found cancer on her face last year.  He removed three more moles from her.  As you know Jolyn isn’t covered in moles like Larry the Cable Guy’s sister, but she has had to watch herself closely.  

Two of the moles came back fine, but the third was in her hair line just above her right ear were the cancerous mole was previously removed.  It came back that it wasn’t basal cell carcinoma like last time, but it also wasn’t normal and the doctor was concerned and wanted to send it off for further tests to see if it was melanoma.  

Well, that is all one wants to hear and with what we have been going through with my mom it brought our emotions very close to the surface. 

However on Thursday we received word from the pathologist that the mole cells were normal, just agitated from being brushed since they were in the hair.  Whooo!  Boy was that good news.  Tough week, but it ended well.

Mt. Rushmore from Behind

February 4th, 2009

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I have traveled to Mt. Rushmore more times than I can count.  You probably have seen this passed around, but I have always wondered what it looked like on the other side.

imagesmtrushmorerear

Happy Anniversary

January 31st, 2009

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Anniversary AnnouncementJolyn and I recently celebrated our 12th year anniversary.  Jolyn gave me a card that statistically laid out a few things that has happened in our lives since we have been married. I thought it was a great idea and wanted to expand it even further.

We have gone through much together over these last 12 years.

  • We brought 3 beautiful children into our family, 2 spending time in the NICU.
  • Moved 6 times.
  • Purchased 2 homes, 4 vehicles, 3 dogs and 1 horse.
  • Jolyn has graduated from the university and has now gone back for more.
  • Marv has pursued 3 different professions.
  • Marv has received 5 different professional licenses.
  • We have dealt with cancer once, beat it. Now we are watching someone close go through a worse form of cancer.
  • We have had 6 bone breaks, one being a major femur bone.
  • We have had 7 different surgeries.
  • We have lost one father (Grandfather).
  • We have traveled to 13 different states.

These are only a few of the things we chosen to do. Life has thrown us other obstacles of illness, pain and sorrow, but overall we have developed only 4 laugh lines and 2 frown lines on our faces. So I think these 12 years have been good years!
The great thing about this list is that each one of you could make a similar list yourself.  It is not that we are special, but it is amazing when you list the things you have gone through it is kind of fun to see what has been done in a short amount of time.

Special Family Christmas Gift

January 18th, 2009

Posted by Jolyn

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For Christmas Marv did something very special for me. He commissioned an LDS artist to sketch this portrait of my dad. This was a complete surprise. I had no idea he was going to do this. The artist is Jean Keaton. She happens to be our neighbor just living across the street. Right after we moved in, Marv started talking to Jean about sketching this picture. Jean does many of these portraits. She told Marv that it probably would be a year wait for her to finish, just because there is that long of a waiting list. That was in July, she was able to finish this portrait on Friday, December 19th, the day before we went to Vernal to celebrate Christmas.

Marv collected different pictures of my dad and gave them to Jean. During one of the conversations he had with Jean, Jean asked if there was just the three kids in my family. Marv said no, that I had a brother who passed away just after he was born. So in the picture she sketched my dad holding my brother Josh. If Josh were alive today, he would be 37 years old, Marv’s age. When Marv told Jean that she asked if she should put a baby in the picture as well. And he said yes! There was some divine guidance.

Marv gave this picture to me on December 20th when we were in Vernal. The way he did it was just perfect. After we opened presents with my family, Jessi, my sister said she had a video to show us that she put together. The video was titled “Growing up as a Hacking”. It was pictures of my family and all of us growing up on the ranch. It was amazing! Marv had no idea that Jessi was going to do this. And it set the stage for his gift. After the video was finished, Marv said he had a special gift to give. He then showed us the portrait and went on to explain the process he went through to have it put together. We were all amazed! And yes, we were all crying our eyes out! It was so neat! Marv had typed up his thoughts of my dad and experiences he has had. It was beautiful!

This was such a special Christmas gift. I absolutely love the portrait. Jean did an amazing job at portraying my dad. It looks so much like him. I love to look at this picture and know that my dad is now happy and he is with my brother. I am so thankful that Marv did this for me and my family. My mom said to me later, “Marv sure made our Christmas.” I completely agree with her. This gift was given at just the right time. Not two days before, I was commenting to Marv about how I wish we did more for my dad at Christmas and even remembered my brother more. And then he did this. Amazing! It is amazing how things work out!

Merry Christmas Family and Friends

December 16th, 2008

Posted by Jolyn

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[singlepic=176,320,240,,right]Welcome to our blog. On our Christmas cards this year, we listed the url to our blog. So if this is your first time to our blog, we are glad that you are here. We would love for you to take a moment to read a few of the things that have been happening in our life this year. I must admit that we have not been very regular about posting on the blog. So I turned back the clock and added new postings for the last few months. So if you have visited our site before, there are probably new postings that you have not seen.

We love Christmas. This is such a beautiful time of year. We hope that all is well with you and your family. As you will have read, we have had some sadness the last few weeks, with Marv’s mom being diagnosed with cancer. When life throws you curves, it makes you step back and reevaluate things and appreciate all the blessings that you have in your life. So we are thankful for friends and family who love and support us. It is frustrating how busy life can get and maintaining relationships becomes more and more difficult. But we are so thankful for the influence and relationships that we have had with many people in our lives. We are who we are because of the experiences we have shared with you. So thank you for being a part of our life and taking the time to get to know what is going on in our lives a little bit more by reading these postings.

If you have a blog, please let us know, so that we can keep up to date with the events of your life.

Wishing you the very best this time of year!
Love,
Jolyn, Marv, and family!!!

Piano Recital

December 14th, 2008

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On Monday (Dec. 8th) we had our Christmas piano recital.  All three of our kids have been taking piano lessons. Emily and Abby have been playing for over three years and Blake just started two months ago.  Our family has been going to Valanne and I have noticed a huge difference in their playing ability.  

Emily and Abby’s song was four pages and they memorized it together.  Actually they had memorized all of their music and they were pretty much the only ones who had done so at the performance.  Every time Valanne sees me she comments about how good our kids are and she loves teaching them.

Jolyn was roped into playing with the girls and she has had no lessons.  I have been very  impressed watching her teach herself how to play.  The recital was enjoyable.  I usually dread them to sit for an hour and half listen to good songs played poorly.  This recital was joyful and even helped get the Christmas spirit to come alive.

Here is the video of the Piano Recital.

My Mom has Cancer

December 8th, 2008

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A couple of weeks ago, my mom, LaRene, was diagnosed with “Invasive Ductile Carcinoma Breast Cancer”. After multiple scans, tests and biopsies it has been determined that she is stage 4 with the cancer metastasizing through out her body. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 is the latest stage. You don’t want to be in stage 4. Stage 3 means it is moving in the blood stream and stage 4 means it has started growing in multiple organs. They have found the cancer in her liver, lymph nodes, breast and bones. There are four places the cancer is located in her bones, two on each hip, one in the pelvic area and a spot on the back left shoulder blade.

With breast cancer there are three basic types: estrogen, progesterone and her2:new. My mom was estrogen negative, progesterone negative and her2:new positive. Her2:new is the most aggressive and destructive form of breast cancer. Ten years ago there was no cure for someone with her2:new cancer. Today they have a new drug called, Herceptin which in the last 8 years has been able to beat the her2:new cancer. My mom has also qualified to be on a study medication called, Taxotere which is a new drug that works with Herceptin to fight her2:new cancer even more. The way the doctor put it, it is like adding 1 + 1 and equaling 6.

Since my mom is stage 4 cancer, they have told us that she is treatable, but not curable. How do you take news like that?

She started her first round of chemo this last week and did fairly well. The next few rounds of chemo will be a lot worst on her body, because the chemo starts building up in hersystem with each dosage and the side affects get worse. The doctor’s told us that her immune system would be destroyed in 9 days and we now have to be very careful when we go around her because we don’t want to give her any colds or germs.

She will do 4 months worth of chemo and then have a mastectomy on her left breast. They couldn’t do the mastectomy first because there are two tumors that have merged into one large one. We saw the MRI and it appeared like 80% to 90% of her breast was this merged tumor. If they proceeded with the mastectomy now, there wouldn’t be enough clean tissue left to properly bring her chest together, let alone do any reconstruction surgery. So they want to start with the chemo to reduce the cancer in the breast and then follow-up with the mastectomy. After the mastectomy then they will hit her with radiation and then another round of chemo.

The challenge with stage 4 cancer is that it has spread through out the body. They have to treat the liver different from the breast. The breast different from the bones and lymph nods. So it becomes a constant changing battle to beat the cancer. There are patients who have lived 10 years, even at my mom’s stage so it is hard to say how long she has and they are not giving us odds.

I have been reading a neat book about cancer, by Lance Armstrong called, “It’s not about the bike.” If you want to understand what it is like to deal with cancer, this is the book. If you like inspiring books about overcoming diversity and challenges I recommend reading it.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 28th, 2008

Posted by Jolyn

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This year for Thanksgiving we spent the holiday with my family. The rotation was on the Hacking cycle! We decided that we wanted to do something different. Eight years ago we rented a cabin and had Thanksgiving all together. Abby was just a baby then, and our family was a lot smaller. That experience was so much fun so we decided to do that again this year. We rented two condos up at Flaming Gorge Lodge.

We all arrived on Wednesday. Enjoyed a relaying Thanksgiving day. Then parted our ways on Friday. The time spent was a lot of fun. We played our favorite family game “Loaded Question”. On the cover of the box, it says “Expose Yourself”. Unfortunately that is exactly what happens when our family plays this game. It is hilarious and a lot of fun to see how much we know about one another and also how much we don’t know.

The kids enjoyed putting together scrapbooks, playing the Wii, watching movies and just being together. We are really glad we did this. Also while we were up in the mountains, we decided to get a real christmas tree. You will have to read about that on our next posting!