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ImageSeptember 2012 looked very hopeful for my blog. I had gotten a much better start posting regularly and had the goal of becoming a consistent blogger. A visit to the doctor by my husband, Brent, on September 17th changed all of that.

Brent had been struggling with his health for months, never quite recovering from injuries and getting sick regularly. At the time we certainly did not put all the pieces together but were frustrated by his continuing lack of full, vigorous health. On that Monday, September 17th during his visit to our doctor’s office they finally did extensive testing to see why Brent was feeling like he may have “walking pneumonia” in his words. He came back home and told me that they took so many vials of blood he was surprised he had any left. We waited for a call back to get his lab results. When the Nurse Practitioner called to give him the results in person, he was immediately alert to the seriousness. She sent him directly to the emergency room and told him that they may need to give him transfusions because his platelets and white blood cell counts were so low.

Our journey began at North Kansas City Hospital ER. They took Brent back and began the process of discovering why his blood cell counts were so low. The search began with possible blood loss. He went through many tests and was placed in the intensive care unit. On Wednesday, the 19th, we were finally given a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We were told that it would be possible he would need a bone marrow transplant and that those were not available at NKCH so they contacted KU Medical Center to see if he would be accepted as a patient there. He was accepted and we transferred within hours to KU Med’s BMT Unit.

Brent began chemotherapy almost immediately. We found out that he had the markers for Philadelphia Positive ALL and that they would definitely plan to do a bone marrow transplant if they could find a donor. Brent went through two rounds of Chemotherapy and then on November 19th he received a stem cell transplant with a donation from his brother, Dwayne, who was a virtually perfect match. Brent is recovering well and has almost reached the 100 day mark where he will undergo extensive testing. All in all everything related to his current battle with cancer has been “best case scenario.” He was in remission after the first round of chemotherapy. He had one more round, which is the minimum they recommend. The transplant was exactly two months after diagnosis with a wonderfully matched sibling donor. Our family has had such wonderful encouragement and support from friends, family, acquaintances, above all we could ask or think the Lord has blessed us throughout this trial. If you would like to read a more detailed account or would like to follow Brent’s journal follow this link.

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Outside in Kansas City~Sunny and 37 degrees.  We have been enjoying record highs lately and the forecast predicts 60 degree weather again this week!

I am thinking~that I would like to blog on a regular basis this year. I am also hoping to start training for a 5k and am entering into a new discipleship relationship.  Excited about new things in 2012.

I am thankful for~family time over the holidays.  It was such a blessing to have all our children and grandchildren with us on Christmas.  I know there will be years that this can’t happen so I truly appreciate it.

In my kitchen~I am planning to eat from the current fridge, freezer and pantry offerings this week.  It will help to clear things out before they go bad and save some money after the Christmas spending. After that I am planning to try out Once a Month Mom’s real food challenge and the Whole Food’s Menu.

I am wearing~My new fleece pullover from Land’s End, Jeans, Nike’s.

Last creative endeavor~is to regularly entertain, distract, and care for a nine month old 😉

Sleeping Sweetie!

I am going~to travel to El Salvador with a group from Faith Community Church for 10 days in March.  My daughter, Gaubri, will be going too. We are very excited about going to serve others and share the love of Christ.

Gaubri

Can’t wait for~tomorrow, every day is a new adventure. Longer term I am looking forward to a trip to Europe in spring 2013, Lord willing.

Family News~We are down to five people at our house right now.  Our foster son who has been with us since last January transitioned to his new home the day before Thanksgiving. He is being adopted by a family member who really loves him so this is a great ending for our placement with him.  We really need prayer about future placements, if, who, when, we take in more children.  Initially we were just focused on having a “break” and even though we have gotten several calls about placements we have told everyone that is what we are doing.  We still have our foster daughter, and she is spending three nights a week with her birth mom so we are in a very doable place right now. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that internal nudging that there is such a need and the constant reminder from the calls and the postings looking for placements on the foster care email loop keep me pondering what our next step should be.

Current Read~I am starting Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History by Diana Lynn Severance.

I am hearing~The hum of the computer, Brent took Gaubri and Shakur to basketball practice and baby D is taking a nap.

I am hoping~to keep the household organized with a new app I purchased for my Iphone called Motivated Moms 2012. It also comes in printable versions and breaks household tasks down into daily lists, similar to the old card system that the Sidetracked Executives used or Flylady without the deluge of emails.

Around the house~the dead Christmas tree has been taken to the woods and the living room is back to normal. The house seems very empty and quiet after the holiday invasion…

Simple pleasure~quiet time to blog and meal plan.

Our foster care journey began way back in 1975 when I met my birth father’s sister, ie “my aunt Elaine,” and her family which included both birth children and foster children. This was the first time I had heard of “foster care” and it made quite an impression on me. Through the years it always remained at the back of my mind that I wanted to provide care for children without homes someday.  My husband and I married in 1980 and as we raised our four birth children the idea was never far from our minds.  At one point while we were raising our first three children I went to a Children’s Division meeting in Liberty, MO to get more information and decided that it was not the right time for us.  Our children were still small and frankly I felt we could not afford to take on the care of other children with the small amount of financial help the state provided at that time.

By 2008 our two oldest children were married and had children of their own, our third child was in college, and the fourth was soon to graduate high school and head off to college too.  The idea of becoming foster parents again came to mind.  I began to research Missouri foster care online and found Missouri Baptist Children’s HomeMBCH trains and licenses foster parents and because we were hoping for a Christian licensing agency we decided to attend their information meeting, which we were told was the first step in being licensed by them.  All went well at the brief informational meeting that was held at their Lee’s Summit location and we scheduled a home visit.  The home visit would determine whether we would be accepted into their Ten week training program.

This morning Brent and I, Nicholas, Taylor, Gaubri and Shakur, rose early to attend early service at 8:30 and Sunday school together.  We heard a very thought provoking sermon on what patriotism looks like for a christian.  We got home in time to make some homemade makaruni for lunch.  I used the Lidia’s recipe that Taylor and I had learned when we took a cooking class together but it is really easy. Every time I make homemade pasta I tell myself we should do it more.  The recipe is here and there is even another recipe and a pictorial demonstration at Cooking Light.  I had some red chard from the Door to Door Organics delivery earlier in the week that I needed to use up so I searched for red chard recipes yesterday.  I settled on the Chard-Tomato Peasant Pasta sauce to eat with our Makaruni.  We have also made the wild mushroom sauce that is included with the Lidia’s recipe and it is delicious, even those that did not like mushrooms were loving it.

My second son, Nicholas, is home from college for Christmas break.  He recently became engaged to Staci Kok and the wedding date has been set for August 6th.  This is a bittersweet time for me because I know I am starting all the “last times.”  This is the last Christmas break that he will be spending at home with us…  As I was cleaning out a drawer I ran across one of my many old journal/prayer logs/sermon notes books.  This particular one contains some entries about Nicholas. 

  • 4/25/89  Nicholas Joel Campbell was born 2/13/89.  This week he has started to put his thumb in his mouth from a face forward position, rub his eyes when tired, roll onto his side.  He sleeps about seven hours at night and takes a three hour daytime nap.  Other times he sleeps from 15 minutes to one hour.  He smiles and coos so beautifully and we all love him very much.  Alicia and Jeremy got bikes last week and love to ride them with their friends.
  • 4/30/89 Nicholas drooling a lot – cutting teeth?
  • 5/1/89 Nicholas slept 10:30-7:15
  • 7/1/89 Nicholas turned over from back to stomach -now he rolls over.  He hadn’t been sleeping through the night recently.  Still chewing and drooling but no teeth yet.  Alicia and Jeremy love to  play with him.  Nicholas uses a pacifier occasionally and sucks his thumb off and on.  He’s babbling at us and loves to ride in his stroller.  He’s a great shopper in his stroller or his carrier and never fusses.  His car seat is a different story.  He does fine in it some times but other times he screams the whole time.  This is rather stressful for all of us.  After stopping nursing with Nicholas I am wondering if this is my last baby, it makes me sad to think so because baby hood last such a short time.  He has already grown so much and is doing so many things.
  • 8/13/89 Nicholas Joel Campbell is doing fine in his car seat now.  He is the most mobile baby you could find.  Already he is crawling perfectly and pulling up to anything including climbing up and down our legs.  Nicholas is crazy about his brother and sister, his face lights up and he starts to laugh when they come in.  Today Nicholas is 1/2 a year old.  Time is going by too fast.  No teeth yet.  Nicholas is eating cereals, fruits, and vegies and drinking water and Isomil with occasional iced tea from Grandma. 

I did it again, let the whole month go by without posting the monthly “update.”  Here you go!

Outside in Kansas City~It is an absolutely incredible autumn day in the 70’s with the leaves falling like crazy!

I am thinking~That it is getting dark way too early, and my husband must have gotten lost on the way home from picking up Taylor from work.

I am thankful for~The opportunity to spend the day with family at my house after church and have lots of baby holding time.  I am also thankful for my mom who cooked a turkey breast and stuffing for us all to enjoy.

In my kitchen~All the dishes from lunch are clean and ready to be put away!

I am wearing~Jeans, floral shirt and socks.

Last creative endeavor~ No time!

I am going~To go grocery shopping as soon as possible, refrigerator is getting bare.

Can’t wait for~ Completion of our Home Study for Foster Care.

Family News~Taylor turns 16 on the 16th and he is very excited about that.

Current Read~ Parenting the Hurt Child by Keck and Kupecky, The Connected Child by  Karyn Purvis, David Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine, and lots of books about making the most of the space in small homes, storage ideas, children’s rooms, etc…

I am hearing~The sound of the ceiling fan and the computer.  I guess you can tell there is no one at home right now besides me.  In a few months I may dream of these quiet times.

I am hoping~To prepare for the holidays in a low stress manner keeping the “reason for the season” and proper priorities at the forefront.  While surfing for some tools I found: Happy Holiday Planner,  Ann’s Amazing Holiday Planner, Household Notebook, Big Holiday Planner from FlyLady.

Around the house~I am very excited about all that Brent and Taylor accomplished on Saturday.  They set up a captain’s bed downstairs in Taylor’s new room, tore out the “wet bar” that was in there taking up space, installed another light in my sub-basement laundry room, installed a big shelf in the garage, went to the store and got a piece of plywood cut for one of the bunks so now we have one complete bunk bed ready.  We still need another set of bunk beds and bunk bed mattresses for the other bedroom so please keep your eyes open for someone getting rid of a set.

Simple pleasure~I saw Fireproof with Brent and Taylor on Friday night and then went out to dinner, it was very enjoyable. I won’t say who but at least two of us cried at this movie, it is a good one to go support.

Plans for the weekend~More projects around the house.  Missions Emphasis Month starts at FCC.

What a nice visit with Jeremy, Ginny, Libby, and Luca tonight.  We had a yummy, simple dinner of sausage, potatoes, peppers and onions followed by some candy I had stocked up by using The Grocery Game. Here we are showing off the grandkids to the neighbors.

Grandchildren, what a blessing!

Grandchildren, what a blessing!

Outside in Kansas City~It is an absolutely beautiful autumn day!

I am thinking~That it has been a long time since I last posted and how to best catch everyone up on the many things that have been going on.

I am thankful for~The great opportunities Taylor had to learn skills this week while helping the Hallams move into their home in the Northeast.  He was able to help lay laminate flooring and is now excited about replacing the flooring at our house.  Nicholas and Jeremy were both blessed to be able to learn valuable skills while serving the church too.

In my kitchen~All is clean and quiet and I love my new kitchen faucet!

I am wearing~Black knit shirt and teal skirt.

Last creative endeavor~ No time!

I am going~With Brent to Sioux Falls, SD next weekend for a workshop about starting an Orphan’s Ministry at your church.

Can’t wait for~ Spending time with my husband next weekend.  We have reservations at a B&B.

Family News~Luca Ethan was born Tuesday, September 16th, at 1:52 p.m.  Luca weighed 8 lb. 8 oz. and measured in at 21 inches.

Current Read~Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray, Parenting the Hurt Child by Keck and Kupecky.

I am hearing~Insects in the backyard.  I guess you can tell there are no kids at home right now.

I am hoping~To get the house cleaned and in order in time for another case study visit and Nicholas’ coming home on Wednesday and bringing along a friend to stay for the weekend.

Around the house~I am trying to get home repairs caught up before we receive our first foster children.  I started a plumbing project last week to repair the leaky faucet and leaky sink.  We ended up having to replace the faucet and the sink basket.  Of course none of the old stuff wanted to come off and we did not have the best tools for the jobs…First I sent out the emergency call to my brother, Brad, who came over to help me when I still thought I could repair the faucet.  He injured himself in the meantime, so sorry Brad.  Later after I found that everything would have to be replaced Jeremy took pity on me and came over to help (ie do most of the job) his temperment, skills, interests, match up to this a lot better than his dad or youngest sibling.  Yay!   Jeremy to the rescue again.

Simple pleasure~Painted my toenails with new red polish that my mom bought me called I’m Not Really a Waitress.

Plans for the weekend~This weekend Brendan came home with grandpa and spent the night on Friday.  We met with his mom and dad at the City Market Saturday morning to hang out and return him.  It was a beautiful day and we came home with spices from Planters, pumpkins for the porch, and ground chuck from Pleasant Pasture Farms.  Brent is replacing all the guts in one of the toilets today and treated the yard to try to get rid of our mole infestation.   Next weekend is the trip to South Dakota.

What an incredibly beautiful time of year this is!  The short, dark, days of winter are forgotten and we can feel the heat to our bones.  I know some would say too much heat, but even without a/c in my van which can get very hot and draining I would not trade for winter cold.

Taylor’s tournament last weekend in Springfield ended on a low note.  They lost their game on Friday in a pretty ugly manner and when storms came in that night it was a rain out for the rest of the weekend.  Oh well, they have the opportunity to shake it off and start over in the Baker Tournament starting today, Tuesday @ 5PM, Rockhurst University Field. 

We were able to get home Saturday evening, pick up Ruby from my mom’s house and take a quick nap before Jeremy and Ginny invited us over for dinner.  We enjoyed salad, grilled chicken, and garlic bread and then Joe and Kate Bancks surprised all of us with root beer floats, mmmm….

Sunday morning I snuck into the early service at FCC and was able to enjoy Sunday school too. It was great to be back and Tim preached a wonderful sermon, as usual.  Sunday school was very informative and interesting.   Wow, early service, sunday school and off to take advantage of the day, I could get used to that.  We were able to have lunch, naps, and got lots of work done on the garage and sub-basement, two of the major projects on my wish list. 

I am heading out to put another coat of paint on the picnic table.  I will post pictures soon of some of the completed projects.

 I finished reading the book- The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham.  I really would recommend it if you are interested in crime stories.  It is very interesting and thought provoking. I am really questioning my views on capital punishment, the fallibility of the justice system, local law enforcement, etc…   

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