Sunday, December 30, 2007

isaiah wields his ax

A big mimosa tree at Papa's fell down and Isaiah helped cut it up. Dad and Papa used chainsaws. Isaiah rolled old school.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

thank you eastside christian school

Miss Amber Bobst's 2nd grade class from Belleview, Washington held a bake sale to raise money for gifts for Isaiah and Sienna. The class reportedly decided to do this in place of their traditional Christmas gift exchange. The bake sale was a huge success. All of us received generous, creative gifts delivered in person by Miss Amber herself!

Thank you for your love and generosity. You are an awesome class. We were humbled and impressed by your servant hearts!
Sienna, Isaiah, Nathan and Carmen

Christmas '07

Some scenes from Christmas weekend...

After hot chocolate Sienna opened her very own light saber!

Isaiah and Auntie Angie enjoyed a night full of noise, laughter and delicious Nicaraguan food.

Nathan...trying to be strong and courageous despite his bout with food poisoning the night before Christmas Eve. We stopped to eat on the way to San Jose and .....

All the cousins had a great time together!

Look out! It's the cutest pirate in the world!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Carmen and I were able to get away for a couple days to celebrate our 12th anniversary. At times it felt like we were re-introducing ourselves after many months apart.

The kids were well-cared for by one of Carmen's sisters. They then joined us for a relaxed day of just enjoying one another's company.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

gentle warriors

Here's a picture of two of the toughest boys we know. Our friend Kyler just had his port removed after a long and arduous battle. This shot was taken at his "port-o-party."

Thursday, December 6, 2007


After living apart for 3 weeks, we're all under the same roof again tonight AT HOME! We shared a great salmon dinner, danced, and enjoyed hot chocolate and stories in front of the fire. (Sienna never did break out with chicken pox...just bravely endured the incubation period at her Bita and Papa's.) We're very thankful to be together again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day One and Day Nineteen

Yesterday was officially Day 1 of Maintenance! This is a major milestone in Isaiah's treatment. It marks the beginning of fewer visits per month and long periods of time between spinal taps.

His treatment continues with daily chemotherapy at home, steroids at the beginning of each month and spinal taps every three months. Each phase of Maintenance is 12 weeks long. Thank you for joining us in prayer as we begin week number one of this first phase.

Yesterday was also DAY NINETEEN of Sienna's incubation period. We were all happily planning her "homecoming party" when we received a call letting us know she needed to be picked up early from school. She had a fever, was extemely tired and felt achy all over. Now we are anxiously waiting to see if she breaks out. We are still functioning as nomad parents, our hearts in two places when our bodies can only be in one. So we travel back and forth taking turns with each of the kids.

We are all feeling stretched to our limits. We embrace this Advent season with burning hope for Christ to be born into our need for Him right now!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

maintenance delayed

The little guy's blood counts were too low to proceed with treatment as planned today. So we're pushing the next phase back at least one week. Thank you to Jacob for fasting with Isaiah and spending the whole day playing and talking about Star Wars. Thanks to Sarah for the delicious dinner. Thanks to all of you for praying for us.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

six months

Six months ago today our reality was turned upside down and shaken in the time it took to hear four words: Your son has Leukemia. Since then we feel like we've been in "fight or flight" mode about 90% of the time, with a few, brief moments to breath inbetween. Most of the time I still can't believe this is really happening.

Overall, Isaiah is doing really well, in light of what he's facing. He's asking a lot about when "this is going to be over." He desperately wants to play little league this Spring. And he's really missing his sister. But his attitude is phenomenal. He's just getting through it.

We're grateful for the hundreds of cards, dozens of meals, and countless prayers for strength and healing. We are literally surrounded by people who are committed to helping us through this journey, which, in itself, is an amazing blessing.

On Monday we're back to fasting, a spinal tap, etc. etc. to kick-off the long 5th phase of treatment: maintenance. We've got a long way to go, but for the last six months we've been focusing on just making it to this point. Thanks for sharing our journey and cheering-on our sweet son. Please stay with us!

Isaiah's blood counts were high enough for us to be able to join my sisters and folks for a delicious Thanksgiving meal on Friday. Isaiah got to shoot Uncle Mike's paint ball gun and enjoyed - as always - playing with his cousins.

Friday, November 23, 2007

thanksgiving day

Isaiah and I bach'd it yesterday - we worked in the yard, fixed the dishwasher, did some laundry, talked about Star Wars, watched a lot of football and a couple episodes of Dirty Jobs, played "hide and seek" and "guns" and then "hide and seek" with "guns." We were well-into the box of mandarins and oatmeal for dinner when our across-the-street neighbors brought over heaping plates of their thankgiving feast. I asked Isaiah, "how's that bread?" He said, "Wonderful!"

We were grateful for the several calls we received from friends and family. We enjoyed spending time together. We missed the girls. But it was a good day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

blood pressure and trash cans

Friends - Isaiah was at the hospital yesterday for his regular blood check (he's up from 500 last week to 800 - he apparently never "bottomed out" at zero as expected). And, it appears that his bone marrow is producing at a higher rate than expected. Thank God. While receiving an antibiotic which he gets once a month, his blood pressure dropped. So that slowed things down and he and Carmen ended up staying at the hospital for over six hours.

Carmen then went to my folks' place to be with Sienna overnight (who apparently has the flu). Things are feeling pretty out of control over here.

But then there's the little things that remind me of how well we're being taken care of - like the friend who brought over Chinese food last night... or when I rushed outside early this morning because I heard the garbage truck and realized I forgot to leave the trash can on the curb, only to discover that our neighbors had taken out our trash for us.

Friday, November 16, 2007

a wrench in the works's the latest little challenge: There was a chicken pox outbreak at Sienna's school. Our kids haven't been vaccinated against the chicken pox (though the kid who just got them was...) and Sienna was definately exposed. If Isaiah were to get the chicken pox at this point, it would be very serious. So Sienna has moved out to live at her Bita and Papa's house for the next three weeks (reason # 9,284 why we're grateful to have them so close) per doctor's orders. Our kids have to be separated until Dec. 3. We're all feeling sad about being apart. Thanksgiving plans have been uprooted. Carmen will be with one of the kids in one house; I'll be with the other in another house.

Never a dull moment.

Isaiah continues to feel very strong. Aside from missing his super buddy, he's doing great. Sienna is happy to be doing the morning chores at Bita's house - it's an adventure for this suburban girl.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

praying for no infections

Isaiah spent the weekend at home with his mom and "godbrother" Jacob playing cars and sword-fighting ( "you don't kill each other, you just kinda hurt each other" - Isaiah).

We had to adjust our planned trip to Monterey because we felt it was just too risky to expose Isaiah unnecessarily to others. Our doctors told us that the next two weeks are the most critical of his treatment. It's during this time that kids often experience problems which become serious because their abilities to fight infection have become so compromised by the intense chemo of recent weeks. So Sienna and I spent the weekend running the Big Sur Half Marathon and enjoying the ocean while Carmen and Isaiah stayed home. (Any comment about life not being fair seems inadequate here.)

We expected Isaiah's counts to be close to zero at today's appointment, but he was at 500. He seems slightly more tired than normal, but, in light of it all, he's doing remarkably well. We're encouraged.

We're praying hard that his body will be protected from infection during the next two weeks. He's very anxious (as are we) to wrap-up this season of treatment.

the "silly Isaiah" pics were taken by Sienna!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Luke faces Darth Vader

Isaiah spent a few days playing with his cousin, Santana. It was great timing for the visit! Santana joined us for two of our office visits and his company made the appointment times fly by. Overall, Isaiah has had a great week. His appetite has returned and his office visits have been quick and easy. Today we have our last visit. On Sunday night he finishes his last dose of chemotherapy at home and we will have completed Delayed Intensification!!

Please keep us in your prayers. Most kids experience extremely low blood counts, fevers and need blood transfusions following this session of daily treatments. We continue to pray for protection for his body and his heart.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Jedi Flamenco!

Isaiah had a great time dressing up as Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master. His favorite part of the night was passing out candy! He and Sienna had a blast walking around the neighborhood with their neighborhood buddies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

his own words

This is Isaiah. Hi guys. I am doing well. How are you guys? After a treatment I felt well. I'm dressing up as Luke Skywalker. Next Halloween I'm going to be Mace Windu. What are you going to be for Halloween?

Isaiah in Capitola/Emmaus Staff Family Retreat/October

[We go back for outpatient appointments tomorrow and Thursday. He's really doing great. Thanks for praying for him!]

Monday, October 29, 2007

big week

Friends - We're off in a few minutes for what we think will be a two-day scheduled stay at the hospital (followed by two more daily trips). We're very grateful for your prayers. More soon...

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Dear Friends,
We are home again. Isaiah's ANC was 600 today, too low to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. He was happy to break his fast early and end the day playing at his Bita's house. We go back on Monday to check counts again. If his counts reach 750, he will be admitted and we will begin a 4 day course of treatment. We praise God for His hand on Isaiah's life and for all the support you give us. We love you all!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

no more curls

People have always said we have the same hair.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we go in for a scheduled hospital stay. We'll be fasting, spinal tapping, etc. etc. unless, of course, his blood counts are too low to move forward. Much peace to you all. We'll keep you posted.

Jacob demonstrated strong support for his friend Isaiah.