Monday, January 30, 2012

CureSearch Walkathon

Please join Gideon's GOOD FISHIES and walk with us towards a cure on May 19. Please click here to register! The more walkers, the better! We will not turn anyone away. Strangers, family, anyone! Please join us... If you can't walk, please consider making a donation here. THANK YOU!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Follow My Yellow Light...

It was a perfect day. Brody, Gideon and I turned on "SOUNDSCAPES," gathered every throw blanket and pillow we could find in the entire house, and just cuddled until we all fell asleep to the sounds of nature and flutes muddled together. Muddled sounds messy. I guess it was more melodiously matched together. That's better. So, we slept and dreamed together in a cozy pile of cushiness. Gideon said he had a dream (during this nap-time) of swimming with dolphins and then the water turned into flowers. It "smelled sooooo good," but then when he woke up, he said he was breathing in my hair (which explained why he could smell them in his dream, he said). I could inhale him in at every opportunity, I promise. Brody was just as snuggly and loving, too.

This weekend was full of moments like that. One was when I woke up at nine in the morning and NO ONE woke me up. The boys weren't in their beds and I got very nervous since the house was too quiet. I found them both at the kitchen table. Brody was teaching Gideon via "Directive Drawing" how to draw a fire-breathing dragon. He had already had him draw a perfectly crafted and colored pencil. Gideon followed his every stroke and said, "Look, mommy! Brody is teaching me to be an artist like him!" I think I still have a part of me melted in a puddle on the kitchen floor. Ugh. I adore them.

I also need to share a recently discovered song, but I need to provide the backstory. Since the beginning of this blog, I have referred to Gideon as my "Yellow Boy" and Brody as my "Blue Boy." The colors match their personalities perfectly. Here is a little refresher from an earlier blog:

"If I could paint Gideon's soul it would be in all shades of yellow, but mostly sunshine yellow. It's true that he has that yellow hair. I don't call it blonde. That is too dull of a word. He has yellow, halo-shining hair. Every single time I go into the clinic, nurses and doctors comment on the fact that he still has it. If you were to brush through it, you would see bald spots underneath, but it is still there. The downey chick soft curls distract attention until the brilliant yellow that is Gideon permeates your heart into melted yellow butter. It happens. Ask anyone who has even talked to this boy. He is my yellow man. Even when his hair is gone, I'm certain that warmth that you feel while sitting next to a window on a sunny day in winter will still emanate out of Gideon. He warms straight through." Written and posted on August 22, 2010

Listen to the words of this song. Woah. I'm following the yellow light! Gideon's light comes straight from the Creator. This is a certainty.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two boys with an ear infection, and a sinus-infection-med-head-momma

Maybe, just MAYBE I was a little too optimistic yesterday... The sick bug got a little more vicious over here, since Gideon woke up drenched in sweat and not at all himself this morning. He can deal with a stuffy nose and the regular cold stuff, but he had a lowgrade fever and something told me to stay home again today. I'm glad I did.

The boys had another chill day of relaxing, cuddling, and blowing noses. They played several games of "Guess Who" until Brody picked up on the fact that Gideon was trying to change his "guy" midway through the game. Brody bails at the first sign of cheating. Happily, they started a game of Cosmic Chicken, and since there is no way to cheat from that one, they ended up playing several sessions. I was able to sneak in several stealth under-the-arm temperature readings during that time and I hated the way his temp seemed to climb a little with each reading.

Then, in the early afternoon, Gideon started to sob and hold his ear. He has never had an ear infection in his life... That was always his brother's trademark sickness. Unfortunately, it was an ear infection. Thankfully we were able to get into the doctor and he was allowed to use Tylenol for the fever and the pain, plus NORMAL kid antibiotics.

I started out this sick time making the boys wear toilet paper around their wrists. This was for the protection of all things that could be wiped with boogers. As time progressed, this fad went out of style and the boys went back to hands and sleeves. I will think of something to curtail this slimy habit. Any other ideas?

I am in the middle of being an absolute absent-minded mommy, myself. I ended up with a sinus infection and I'm battling through with my netti pot! Between the three of us, we are all a little pathetic. :) But... These are NORMAL illnesses! I can't complain about that. Please pray that the boys heal up and nothing progresses into something worse. When I played the song from yesterday (see yesterday's blog), the boys were not as amused. I am in the process of finding another cheesy morsel, don't worry. In the meantime, we'll play soft and wordless songs...

Monday, January 23, 2012


OH boy. There are lots of coughing and blowing noses in this house going on right now. Brody had a fever of 102.7 last night and was in severe pain from his ear, so we all stayed home today. Brody and I went to the doctor and got him the meds he needs. Since then, it has been Cuddlefest 2012. Gideon and I were sick this weekend, and Brody was the last to house our unwanted germ guest. I feel way better, so taking care of these boys has been easy. Especially since I am on a complete music obsession-kick with Gotye. I adore their new album, so I dug out their old stuff and we have been having a healing time with the song I'm about to attach. If you listen to it, you must also promise to shimmy and overly use your jazz hands, okay? It's that kind of song. There are bunnies and balloons in this music video, so it is begging you on sparkled stained knees to put the goofy into it.

Here's to all of you battling bugs like us: Feel better! This song is guaranteed to clear out the mucus.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dear George

January 15, 2012

Dear George Foreman,

I recognize that your grill was just one that you endorsed. In no way did you invent it or go around saying, “Yeah...heavyweight-schmeavyweight! Check out this grill, not my belt!” I get that. But, for all of your accomplishments in the ring, George, for all of your winnings including the title twice with more than 20 years in between wins, and your gold medal, and your hardest punch of all time (thank you, Wikipedia), all of it... I have to say, your grill is one prized possession in this momma's kitchen.

Since this kitchen resides indoors as the arctic winter that is Michigan has finally turned on its machine, your grill is the only one I'll be firing up anytime soon. Do you realize, George, what you have done in saving my sanity? Your grill might be used just to cook, but that's not all. It preserved peace in this house. I promise.

I'm sure you've seen some blood hungry monsters in the ring. I'm sure they have come at you with the intention to hurt crimson red in their eyes, but you have never been in a home of a child on heavy steroids. These aren't like your piddly steroids some of your competitors may have used to beef up. Oh, no. I'm talking the real stuff. The stuff built into a child's cancer regimen. It's a week's worth of insane cravings and whining and stiff muscles and temper tantrums. My little fighter has his eyes constantly on his cancer, wanting to knock it out for good. We still have a few rounds left, but this fight is HIS. We are confident competitors...I'm sure you understand.

In the meantime, I have plugged in your coveted grill more times than I can count this week. I have grilled more than 25 chicken drumsticks. All organic meat, and skinned by yours truly, I have been a chicken cooking fool. I feel as though Gideon, my meat devourer, has had a drumstick permanently in his paw all week long. He even put on a performance to “Hungry Eyes” while tearing into a drumstick and using it as a microphone while doing so...but now I'm going off on a tangent. I do that, George.

In closing, so that I don't get into every detail of every occurrence of the week, I must just say simply: THANK YOU. Maybe you can talk your people into creating a golden grill in honor of childhood cancer with the proceeds going to CureSearch. I think that would be a winning decision, but that's just me. I'd buy another one. I could probably cook more chicken with two, anyway.

So, best to you, George! When you said, “It's so good, I put my name on it!” you weren't kidding.

Happy Grilling!
Amanda Schripsema

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cancer Kids

There is so much about us that is packed into little compartments and stored on a shelf. We take one unit off the shelf when it is needed, and we use our adult common sense to consciously leave certain parts of ourselves dormant and on the shelf… They'll be let loose out of the box some other time. So we show glimpses of ourselves instead of all of us because that is more polite, that is more controlled, and that is more acceptable.

I think this is why I adore kids so much: they don't filter. They feel and respond to those feelings accordingly. Does it hurt? Cry. Is it funny? Laugh with your entire self (who cares if you snort? It is far more difficult to censor a snort than to just feel the bliss of the moment). Are you mad? Stomp your foot and hurl yourself onto the couch with a cross between a snarl and an UMPH. Are you happy? Smile and say it. Say, "I feel soooo happy." And kids DO. They do-do-do!

Then there are kids with cancer. The longer I am in this childhood cancer world, the more kids with cancer I meet. I thought maybe it was just me who assumed my own sad heart came to this conclusion, but nope. I decided it is fact: Kids with cancer get it. They get it all. They get things we normal adults never will. They understand the spectrum of all emotion, but they still have that kid gloriousness of letting it all mill around them like fireflies of perfection. They still get mad, sad, frustrated and they go about in kid fashion to display these emotions, but they gravitate towards the good. They hover within a smile of certainty that this life right this moment is spectacular. Maybe it's because they know this good feeling might not last very long before a new drug interrupts the freedom that is childhood, I don't know. But I have not met one child with cancer who acts bratty or mean or selfish. I don't think that combination exists.

Gideon had clinic today. He got his vincristine, his check-up, his next round of steroids. He is on track for his treatments and that news is always soul balm. While we were at the hospital, I had the absolute privilege to meet up with Joyanna and her son, James. James was checked into the Children's Hospital to receive a five day rigorous chemo dosage. He was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, deemed in remission, had his port removed, and the cancer came back. This is every mom's compounded nightmare within a nightmare. Anyone who has met James can feel the warmth from his eyes and his absolute easiness around anyone who wants to talk. He's the kind of boy who can take in a person and make him/her feel instantly comfortable. James is the kind of boy I want my boys to know: pure heart, fabulous imagination, and a caring outlook. He's the kind of boy who can and does change the world around him for the better.

(Mommy Joyanna loving on her boy, James)

James touched my heart… He had the hiccups today and I taught him my "magic way" of curing them. It worked, and he looked at me with those animated eyes that seemed impressed by the trick. He seemed so happy that this pest of a problem went away so suddenly. I kept thinking, "I wish there was a magic way to zap every cancer cell instantaneously until you are cured completely." Please pray for him and his amazing family. May his drugs do their work and may James beat this beast a SECOND time!

(…and this is the perfect time for me to introduce to you the song that had me sobbing into my popcorn until it disintegrated while I watched "Happy Feet 2" with my boys…)