Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A very Merry Christmas!

We had one. Hope you did too. We got to go to Naples to visit the Casales for a few days and Sue was there too. It was the first time all of us were together for Christmas and we had a great time. Julia loves being with her cousins, and her aunties, and of course, Uncle Frank. And Bailey the dog.

Santa brought Julia the Minnie Mouse pajamas she asked for and a dollhouse too. I think I may have more fun playing with that than she will.

But now it's scan week, so of course we're on edge. We probably won't hear anything until Monday at the earliest because of the holiday. We're sort of preparing ourselves for the fact that Mike might have to go back on chemo. But of course, we're hoping and praying for the best.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Please don't let me forget

I want to etch these little things in my memory forever. The little moments of our lives I cherish so much.

Like how every Monday is grocery day in the Cherry house and Julia and I head to Walmart where we always make a stop at the fish tank. I pick out a random goldfish and tell her it's Dorothy (she of Elmo's World fame) and we say hello to her before going on our merry way.

Not too long ago, I happened to be home when Mike was on bath duty, and I saw him brushing Julia's hair while she sat on his lap. I just stood there watching through the door, their backs to me, thinking it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Every night when I tuck Julia into bed, I tell all her animals goodnight -- Olivia (the famed pig), Minnie (the famed mouse) and Ella (the most famous of all) -- and then I tell Julia "I love you right up to the moon." And she finishes -- "and back" -- from one of our favorite books, "Guess How Much I Love You." Also every night, she says this little prayer: Dear God, thank you for mama, dada, nana, Aunt Lisa, Uncle Frank, Madison and Nick, Aunt Soup, Uncle John and Johnny. Please watch over us through the night and keep us safe. Amen.

Julia's version of helping me in the kitchen is her standing on a dining room chair and rifling through the utensil drawer. She's pretty good at naming all of them -- even the hard ones like the potato masher and the turkey baster. Sometimes she waves a wooden spoon at me and makes a wizard-like swooshing sound and puts me to sleep. Then she squeals with delight, saying "wake up, mama" and I pretend to wake up. It's not much help with dinner, but the company is nice.

She's got a funny way of asking for things. I think it's because she hears us ask her. Whatever it is, it's funny. For example, the other day she said "Mama, do I want some Ritz crackers?" I don't know, baby. Do you? And she says Yes. My favorite is, "Mama, do I want you to tickle me?"

I just taught Julia a whole bunch of Christmas songs, but she really only wanted to sing them in the bath tub. She's an odd little bird. So every night, we would sing Rudolph, Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Winter Wonderland. In that order.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Scary Santa

Remember this classic Christmas picture? Well, it didn't get much better two years later. Hahaha. In fact, Santa's not even in the picture this time around. He's waaaay off to the left. In Julia's defense, she did march right up to him and tell him she wanted some Minnie Mouse pajamas and wished him a Merry Christmas, but the tears came at the mere mention of sitting on his lap. And really, he was just some employee at Florida Today, so who could blame her.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I probably shouldn't have included the pictures of all us wearing our Marshall shirts, considering how the Herd came to Central Florida and made fools of themselves and cost me a bottle of wine in a bet. And of course, the only picture of Thanksgiving is the one of me cooking. Didn't take a single shot of my pretty table or our friends and family. Grrr....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Even more to be thankful for

We saw Dr. Neel yesterday, for the first time in two months, and he used words like "excellent" and "miracles" and "I think you look great." The lump in Mike's neck appears to be stable and it's a good marker for what's going on in the rest of the body. "There's no sign of worsening," were his exact words.

We'll find out for sure after the holidays when Mike goes in for some more scans. He hasn't had one since August. In the meantime, he'll continue with Avastin every other week.

I think Dr. Neel is impressed by the fact that Mike maintains a normal energy level, goes to work every day and chases a 3-year-old. Mike asked him if it was unexpected, that at this point, things are going well. And I guess considering the statistics with this kind of cancer, it is. He told us that we can call it "the grace of God, luck or whatever we want" but he sees miracles in his practice all the time.

I choose to call it the grace of God because so many of you have been praying for Mike and we honestly feel that and are so grateful. I pray all the time too. I pray that Mike stays strong and gets to see his girl grow up.

Obviously, this doesn't mean we are out of the woods. Our miracle isn't that Mike will be cured. Our miracle is that he is here and he is well. There's always the thought hanging over our heads that we won't be able to keep this cancer at bay forever, but right now we are trying to enjoy the blessing that we have been given.

(Like the pics? I LOVE them. Thanks to our friend Andrew and his fancy camera... )