Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been a busy week.  M has been working extra hours so that he can take off a few days next week while I am out of town.   It always seems like a busier week if M is working more...even if I don't do one thing extra.  Monday night we had FHE and talked about conference while eating ice cream.  The kids seemed to like it. 

C loves sitting in random things right now.
Tuesday I had a presidency meeting at my house.  That afternoon I realized that RM had pink eye.  He was pretty uncomfortable.  He even fell asleep in the middle of the study floor.  I think the nap really helped him.  That night B-man had football practice.
RM fell asleep like this while I was distracted.

Wednesday I did some  last minute errands preparing for the Relief Society trip to the temple.  I made dinner for everyone, and realized that there really wasn't quite enough dinner.  M and I had to hold back a little, and thankfully I had a fresh batch of bread, so the kids weren't hungry going to bed.  I left right after dinner and met at the church with the other women going to the temple.  We had a group of fourteen total, which for the time of the day was a decent turn-out.  We took the northern route to the temple and had a beautiful drive.  When we hooked up on the 495 there was no traffic and we made it in plenty of time for our session.  Being back at the temple was fantastic.  I am getting excited that I can go more now that C is getting older.  M reported that things went well while I was gone.  He was sleeping by the time I got back to home.

Thursday RM's pink eye was gone.  I'm so grateful that it went away on its own and that no one else seemed to come down with it.  That morning we had several friends over for the boys to play with.  They had a great time.  That afternoon was crazy.  I forgot that I had signed up to feed four missionaries.  I was rushing to cook dinner so we could eat before a scrimmage for B-man, and the missionaries called to say they would be late.  Great!  That gave me time to figure it out.  M wasn't even home yet.  In the end I took all the kids to B-man's football scrimmage, and M got home just in time to feed the missionaries toasted peanut butter and raspberry rhubarb jam sandwiches.  I'm a little embarrassed.  Some missionaries go to their Bishop's home to be inspired, but when they come here they just get a taste of what their lives will be like in ten years.  I'm not even that worried about it.  They had a pleasant QUIET dinner that filled their bellies.  When we got home, they were just finishing up.  I then finished assembling dinner, got everyone fed, and then up to bed.  That night M took B-man to a court of honor for two young men in our ward.  It seemed like they had a great time, and that M' talk went well.

Friday was a pretty low key quiet day.  We had pizza for dinner and watched a movie afterwards as a family.  The weather was cool and rainy so no volleyball. 

C loves her bath time.
Saturday morning a friend and I went to a community garage sale nearby.  It started early and the first house we went to I got a bunch of great stuff.  I love getting Christmas presents at garage sales!  The weather was rainy, but there were lots to go to, in fact we had to cut it early so that I could get to a baptism.  We both had a great day.  The baptism was wonderful.  Two children were baptized.  One of M' counselors had a son getting baptized, and a friend that lives on our street had a daughter get baptized too.  They were so cute.  I ran B-man home quickly to get to a birthday party and then went back to the church.  Eventually we all made it home.  M needed to get back to the church with all of us so he could meet with a sister.  (By this point everyone had left, and he needed me there in the building too)  At the same time someone was test driving our old van to see if they wanted to buy it.  They were taking forever getting back.  In the end he left, finished meeting with her in the hall, and then came back just as the couple were getting back with the van.  We had a few hours of quiet in the afternoon, and then did an early dinner and rushed to get ready to go to a training meeting for fifteen stakes led by the second counselor in the general Sunday School presidency Brother Duncan.  The house was pretty much a wreck when we left (and when we came home) but the meeting was fantastic!  It was a great meeting, and really effectively communicated what they want the teachers for everyone to be doing.  On the way home we stopped for a quick bite to eat and dessert before getting home.  It was a much needed date night!

C showing off her standing skills at the scrimmage.
Today has been another wild and crazy Sunday.  C was crazy during Sacrament meeting, and really all of church.  But we made it through, and hopefully everyone felt the spirit at some point.  We are at home now, and hope M will be home soon.  RM has really adjusted to life with a cast and is doing almost everything he could before he got hurt.  He is most bothered by the lack of bath time.  He really misses it.  That and not being able to ride a bike.  C has been perfecting her free standing.  She can stand up in the middle of the room for quite a while now.  I even saw her standing on our wood stairs!  Yikes.  That is not encouraged.  J spends almost every dinner practicing his writing.  Whenever I ask what his "word of the day" was he immediately runs to find the supplies to show us.  B-man is loving fifth grade and still works to spend most of his time with friends.

J modeling a garage sale find that day.
We love you all!

The C Crew

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 5, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Here is a our week in a quick review...

Monday RM had hurt his leg on Saturday and had not been putting any pressure on it.  That meant a lot of carrying him around and finding a comfy spot for him to sit and read or play with legos.  That night he did start putting a little weight on his leg, and limping around.  That at least made my job easier.  That night we had FHE and focused on preparing for conference.

Tuesday I had a presidency meeting at my house in the morning before John went to school.  That night B-man went to football practice.

Wednesday is always a slightly busier day.  I made it busier by making a last minute dentist appointment.  The morning was surprisingly quiet because a neighbor called to see if J and RM could come over and play.  I happily sent them over, and then squandered the quiet time trying to figure out what to do with it!  Matthias got home from work just in time to take all the kids over to B-man's piano lesson, and I went to the dentist.  By the time I got home they were back so I started working on dinner.  After dinner was scouts/mutual so M and B-man were gone.  They both had a good time.

The boys begged for Halloween decorations.  I managed to pull this little banner together.
Thursday morning the boys went over to the Palmer's house.  We did preschool together last year and are doing a swap one day a week this year.  The boys always have a great time, and I used my child free time much more wisely!  It felt so good to check off a bunch of stuff.  One of the things was making an appointment for RM to see an orthopedist.  He still is limping and had been waking up in the night complaining.  That seems like a bad combo.  I had just enough time after running some other errands to pick up his x-rays before going to get the boys.  That afternoon was nice and relaxing.  We enjoyed the weather outside after school and the boys with the neighborhood gang played football in the cul-de-sac with M.  M was the MVP.  Ha!

J and C at the part waiting for B-man to finish his lesson.
Friday was a busy day.  RM appointment was in the morning.  I took all the kids with me, thinking it wouldn't be a big deal.  I realized how foolish I had been just trying to get my double wide stroller into the building.  (I didn't think I should have my son walk into the appointment!)  We survived.  Mostly it was fine.  The only awkward moment was when J informed me that he had to use the bathroom, and when I asked the doctor, he informed me it was out of the office back by the elevators.  I let J know he was going to have to wait!  There was no way I was leaving RM by himself to take him, and it was too far to let him go by himself.  Eventually the need became more urgent and they took pity on us and the PA let him use the employee bathroom.  The doctor examined RM and the x-rays that were previously done, and thought he needed a cast.  I was surprised that they didn't do additional x-rays, but if they don't need to I'm glad they didn't.  By coincidence the person putting on the cast is a member of our ward.  He was so great with RM.  J was terrified of the cast process and was hiding behind the stroller until he realized that it wasn't scary or loud at all.  RM had a great time holding the fake skeleton leg, and choosing the color of his cast.   C was her usual easy self at the doctors office.  We rushed home from the office to get lunch (a rare trip to Chick-fil-A) and then we dropped J off at school.  He was so excited.  The rest of the afternoon was pretty quiet.  At first RM loved his cast.  But after about an hour he started crying and begging to have it off.  It's going to be a long four weeks.  Hopefully he will get used to it, and it will help the leg to stop hurting.  That afternoon M got home a little early and was there when a fellow came to inspect our attic.  We have a little project in the works for Christmas that we are hoping will work out.  He was really nice and didn't even charge us for his time.  That night we played outside, had pizza for dinner, and then watched Justice League to end the evening.  The boys love that right now.

RM with his brand new cast.
Saturday morning I went out with a friend to shop at garage sales.  We had a good time, and finished very early.  Once home we worked on getting our chores done before conference started.  The rest of the day was spent enjoying conference.  I have a fantasy at the beginning of the weekend that I can sit and listen and the kids will play quietly in the background.  That didn't really happen and it was frustrating!  But we are trying, and I will try to be more clear with my expectations for next year.  Someday...  In between sessions we always try to get outside and get some wiggles out.  Matthias worked on vacuuming the cars and I ran a few errands to make sure we had food to eat.

Organizing postcards during Conference.
Today has been another great conference day.  Also another day where I wish I could just sit and absorb and receive inspiration, but instead I am part referee, part "shusher", and part happy mother.  I need to focus more on the positive.  The boys were in the room, and B-man even took some notes this year.  We ate dinner in between sessions, and it ran a little long so we listened to the first few talks of the afternoon while we were eating.  Then just like that conference was over and it was time for baths and bed.  RM is really missing his bath time.  Hopefully we can get that figured out this week.  M is at a viewing for a fellow in our ward that passed away, and should be home soon.

RM fell asleep while M was working outside.  He hasn't slept well since breaking his leg! 

Early morning snuggles.

We love you all!
The C Crew

Friday, June 20, 2014

Things to be Grateful For

    Before I forget, I want to make a list of some of the blessings or things we were grateful for during the last six months.  I'm sure we will forget some things, but I want to remember all that I can.  (In no order of significance.)

1.  No mouth sores!
2. A baby that slept from 6 pm to 8 am.  That's fourteen hours folks with one feeding at 4 am.  Countless blessings there! I
t didn't happen until after the first cycle, and after specific prayers from people that knew me.
3.  Specific prayers of faith.  I gained a whole new testimony of how specific our prayers can be, and can be answered.  (See #2)
4.  People that noticed things, and then dropped things off that we needed.  Like a gallon of chocolate milk because that's what M could drink, or something to listen to and make us laugh.
5.  Neighbors that mowed our lawn many times.
6. Friends that drove M everywhere, and sometimes sat and chatted with him.
7. The dinners.  Too many to count, it was awesome, and so helpful.
8.  All the people that watched my littles.  I was so grateful to be at treatments.
9.  Our most healthy winter ever.  Seriously.  Except for the awful stomach bug, no one had colds or strep, or sinus infections.  That is NOT the norm at our house.
10. A visiting teacher that cleaned my house.  Embarrassing, yes, but also so awesome.
11. Prayers of faith.
12.  Kind coworkers that looked after M and checked in on him.
13. Medical leave bank.  (and not having to work through treatments)
14. People who treated us normally.
15. A great dream.
16. Lots of time with M at home.  Not how we wanted to spend it... but it was still nice in some ways.
17. Good books.
18. No vomiting.
19.  Family members that came and helped.
20.  Understanding bosses
21.  An amazingly easy church load for those three months.  (That's changed... haha)
22.  Patient nurses and an understanding doctor.
23.  Hagen Daaz
24.  People shoveling our driveway... it was a very snowy winter.
25.  Understanding teacher for B-man.
26.  Going to the temple.
27.  People fasting for us.
28.  Family and friends who are doctors and helped us navigate and understand things.  HUGE one.
29.  Humor
30.  Not having to delay any treatment cycles
The boys on Father's Day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


We took the kids to a celebratory dinner last night.  M had a scan a week and a half ago, then last week we met with M's oncologist.  The results were great!  Things looked just like the doctor wanted them to look.  We felt so so grateful.  That immediate night we celebrated with pizza, but we wanted to do a little bit more.

So last night I took the kids and met M at Benihana's.  I was so nervous to take four children to a fairly nice restaurant.  We met M right at 5, and were very relieved to see there were only families with other small children at that time too.  Dinner was as hilarious as you might imagine.  The kids ate varying items of their dinners, but LOVED the cook.  And of course J was talking non-stop to our poor chef.  Actually it went really well, but we will never take them again.  And there shouldn't be a need, because kicking cancer is the only reason to take them to a nice restaurant.  And we can cross that off the list!

P.S.  The frugal part of me feels the need to explain that M had a birthday coupon to use at the restaurant.  Otherwise we wouldn't have done it.  It was just perfect timing.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Life the Last Two Weeks

May 4, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

C and E on Easter Sunday
This has been an important two weeks.  Two weeks ago M started his last week of chemo treatments.  We were so lucky to have E (my sister) with us to help with the kids for the week.  They had so much fun with her.  M' week was not fun, the last round of chemo took a lot out of him.  That was expected, we knew that every cycle got worse, but we were still a little surprised.  He was his usual happy self though.  It was nice to have E around so he could just be in his chair and recuperate without feeling like he needed to help with the "animals" at our house.  E took the little boys to various parks almost every day.  On Friday she took J and RM to a park near Reagan National airport.  There were some "duck boats" there that were boats that could be trucks, and the boys have been obsessed with them ever since.  Lots of conversations, descriptions, and art work have been devoted to the "duck boats."   When M and I left his last chemo session on Friday we both felt lucky to be done, but also knew that the end was sort of anti-climactic since he continues to feel awful for a while.  But we did enjoy the feeling of knowing he was done!

Kids watching the duck boats leave the water.
Saturday we went to B-man's football game.  It's always fun to see him play.  M was getting hydration and steroids at the hospital that morning.  When we came home from the game one of M' coworkers had cut our grass and was painting the trim around our garage.  (A project I hadn't finished in the fall, and then obvious hadn't had time to get to in the spring.)  Inside the house a friend from the ward was helping install some blinds we had ordered for our windows.  People around us have been so very kind and helpful.  That afternoon after naps E and I took the kids to the pool and she gave the little boys a lesson.  They had so much fun, and when we found a warmer pool, I had to drag them out.  The good news is that RM was basically swimming!  Yeah!  We picked up pizza on the way home, and had a great end to the week.
This swimsuit is RM's current favorite item of clothing.

Sunday was pretty typical.  We had a very early dinner with E before she had to go to the airport.  We are all going to miss her.  The rest of the day was pretty slow after dropping her off.  We were all in recover mode.
Helping E with her bag.  RM has his swimsuit and the mandatory collared shirt on.

This week has really all been recovery mode.  We just have to hurry up and wait for M to get his strength back.  Monday through Thursday he wasn't feeling well at all, but slowly, slowly we see little improvements.  More food starts to sound good, he'll have the strength to stand for slightly longer periods of time, etc. 

We also had preschool at our house this week, and studied the letter "z."  We only have a few more weeks of preschool.  We also had a bunch of rain, which cancelled all sports after school.  We were so grateful because B-man was working on getting caught up on some school things.

Tuesday night we were helping deliver grocery bags for a food drive that our Stake is doing.  It was pouring rain, but cute B-man and J kept running up to the doors and tying the bags onto the handles.  They didn't even complain.  I didn't think we would get as much done because of the rain, but they wanted to keep going.  We saved a portion for later in the week when the weather would be better.  Everyone came home and got hot showers.  RM and I had stayed  pretty toasty in the car while they were running and delivering.

Friday evening J and RM went to a friends' house for dinner and a movie.  They were so excited!  B-man stayed home with us, and  we got to have some great individual time with him.  He was so excited to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean" with us.
Easter Sunday

Saturday was a very busy, crazy day.  I left and went to some garage sales first thing in the morning.  Literally every neighborhood was having a community event, so I could hit a lot in a very short amount of time.  M was feeling up to having the kids alone for an hour.  I met him at B-man's first football game.  RM and J always love playing with the other children at these events.  After his game we rushed to go collect the food for the food drive.  We were going super fast, trying to get B-man to his next game.  He only has one double header a season, and it just happened to fall on this Saturday!  We were able to collect the food, drop B-man off, and then go back and deliver the food to the church.  J had so much fun helping get the food sorted, and wanted to stay and help instead of going to B-man's game, but I couldn't just leave him.  I felt a little funny saying "Okay it's time to stop helping... we need to go!"  We had a great time watching B-man play, and he even had an interception and return right at the end of the game.  We came home for lunch, and then a babysitter came so that M and I could go to lunch with some of his coworkers at a burger place in town that we love.  The lunch was great, the place was crowded and we had a hard time getting enough chairs for us, but we scrounged some up eventually.  M' work and coworkers have been so kind to our family these last months.  After leaving lunch we stopped at Home Depot for a few things.  M was pretty wasted by this point, so he stayed in the car, and I did the shopping.  I found a great plum tree and was able to finagle it into the back of the van.  I was hoping to get it in the ground, but I ran out of time.  There were a few other pressing yard things that needed to be done first.  We heated up some leftovers for dinner, and collapsed into bed!

B-man ready for his game.
Today has been a good day, but tiring for M.  Lots for him to do at church.  In fact he is totally passed out in his chair right now while I write this.  At least the weather has been perfect.  

M is done with treatments, and hopefully done with the "hard weeks."  Hopefully next week will see more and more improvements.  We realize that it will probably take months for him to get back to "normal," but we will take the baby steps forward!

We love you all!

The Clark Crew

P.S.  C's new trick is eating her feet, and she rolled from her back to her stomach this week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Two weeks ago M noticed his scalp was sensitive.  We had been told by several people that it was a sign that his hair would fall out soon.  The next morning in the shower it started to come out, a lot!  During the day C was playing with him and pulled out a handful of hair.  It was a little alarming and funny.  When B-man got home from school we let all the kids pull out a handful of hair, and then they all took turns buzzing M's head.  They thought it was really exciting.  Then they all got haircuts.  B-man took the razor to his own head.  He had been the most reluctant, but being able to shave his own head turned out to be very enticing.  We also promised ice cream to anyone with a buzz cut. It was quite the party that night.


After... You can see the first bald patches, and where RM tried to do his own hair.

Love these buzzed heads!

 Originally M had a buzz down to a "1" but even though that is very short hair, loosing the rest of it was pretty annoying, and it looked a little strange.  Before church on Sunday that week he shaved the rest of it off, so that it would look a little better.  The only problem was that he nicked himself on the back of the head.  We both thought it had stopped bleeding, but about five people told him that he was bleeding.  He figured it was only a tiny scab.  When he got home I freaked out because there was a lot of dried blood on the back of his head.  I am sure the people who saw it were horrified.  A warm rag cleaned it up considerably.
Getting patchy...
Add caption
No wonder people were concerned...

He pulls off the bald look!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Oh wait...

J crawled into M's lap and they both got a little nap.
So after a great first week, the weekend has been pretty tough.  Saturday M got progressively slower.  Sunday morning he got up to go to church and just couldn't do anything.  He didn't have the energy to really do anything that he needed to do.  We went off to church and left him at home.  He went back to bed and had a good nap.  It was nice to have him home when we got back.  He was still feeling utterly wasted.  Not nauseated, just like he had been hit by a truck.  Not a great day for him.  He perked up a little in the evening when we had lots of visitors.  Several from his work who came with freezer meals and food.  It was nice to see their babies and visit with them. 

These kids keep it lively!