Thursday, 31 October 2013

Walking, walking, walking

Mom and Dad love to take walks,so we've tried to find some nice walking trails to keep them interested and to get them out in the "freezing" weather.

These first pictures are from the walking trail in our neighborhood. It's a short walk from our home, and is just a little more picturesque than walking on the sidewalk (although that's nice too).

This next set are from a trip to the prairie preserve that is down the street from us. We had a beautiful sunny day to enjoy the fall color together.

No trip to Illinois would be complete for my mom without a visit to Oberweis. After all that walking we had plenty of room for ice cream!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pumpkin Pickin'

Mom and Dad are visiting this week (yay!), and we are having lots of fun exploring. On Saturday Jeff needed some peace and quiet to work on his car, so the rest of us packed up the minivan and went to kill time and find a pumpkin. For simplicity's sake we went back to Honey Hill, as I knew the way, I knew the kids would enjoy it, and most importantly, I knew the donuts there would be good.

The weather was not as nice as my parents would liked, you will note that my mom is wearing my winter coat, but since it was 54 degrees out we all managed to survive. (Now pretend you hear my dad calling out, "The accu-weather real feel says it was 45.")

We decided to prioritize, so we got donuts first. They were awesome, of course. Then we went on a hayride and picked a pumpkin from the patch. The kids had a great time roaming and trying to find the perfect pumpkin. Since we were a bit late in the season they had to settle for pretty good on one side. It was better than rotten and warty. Then, since it was late in the afternoon and we practically had the place to ourselves, we were able to request an extra long hayride through the apple orchard. Now, when I asked if we could go on a longer ride I meant maybe three minutes extra, but the man in charge treated has to a ride around the perimeter of the farm. It was really quite long. The upside of this was that the kids agreed we could be done hay-riding, well, kids minus Tommy. Tommy could hayride forever.

We wrapped the trip up with a visit to the animals and the very sad looking hay bale maze, then piled back in the car with our pumpkin and extra donuts. Success!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

That's Our Pickle

(Nic is the pickle.)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Update on Mary: CT Results

We've been deliberating how to discuss the results mom got from her recent CT, because what it comes down to is that the results weren't great, but they also could have been much worse. The cancer has grown, both the tumor on her pancreas and the spots on her lungs, but the growth was very minimal, and the past two weeks her CA-19 marker (cancer count) has gone down slightly. After reducing her chemo dose she has been able to get her full chemotherapy treatment sequence for the past two months. If her cancer marker does not decrease significantly in the next month or so a change in treatment will be necessary.

Please pray for wisdom as she makes decisions regarding her future treatments. Please pray that the treatment she is currently on will continue to be effective for as long as possible.

Mom wants you to know that she is so grateful for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Apple Donuts

Since it's Fall, and we live in the Midwest, we went apple picking. In my alternate dream universe, apple picking is when you go to the orchard and in exchange for your labor, you get to pick loads of delicious cheap apples for making apple sauce, apple butter, pies, crisps, and so on. In the reality, apply picking is when you pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to do all the work of picking apples. Thus, we go for the novelty and the donuts and do very little actual apple picking. Honestly, if the kids were older and better at picking I would (and will) find a legitimate pick-your-own place and coerce everyone into picking loads apples. Right now they are not exactly discerning when it comes to which fruit they choose, so it is much safer to have small amounts of guided picking supplemented with tractor rides around the orchard and viewing farm animals.

A friend from church recommended we try a Honey Hill Farm in Waterman which is about an hour away from us. It had the right ratio of apple picking to extra activities (I'm not into going to "orchards" that are actually carnivals), and admittance to the orchard and all the activities were free. While the bells and whistles were few, the kids were very happy with what they had, and we had a lovely afternoon together enjoying the sunshine, and, of course, eating apple cider donuts (as far as I can tell, the donuts are the real reason everyone is so enthusiastic about apple picking).

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Tommy Gets Glasses