Thursday, October 20, 2016

Building Our Dream Home

Steve and I decided to build a home back in January of 2015. We already had the land for about 7 months and decided to get started with Mike's company. It was really exciting to design our floor plan and pick everything out. I never thought I would have the opportunity to build a custom home at the age of 30 and it was truly a dream come true. It took a lot longer to get started than we anticipated due to getting permits for different things being on county land. But we finally broke ground in December of 2015! 
This picture was taken in December of 2015.

 Now, fast forward to May 2016 and here is the progress happening...

A lot of people asked us how in the world we built a home in the middle of dealing with Hudson's cancer. At first, I didn't even care anymore to be quite honest. I didn't care about anything but getting Hudson healthy again. But once we got into our new groove, we started getting involved again in the building process. It really kept us busy and was a nice distraction from all of the hardship and sadness we faced. As crazy and busy as it was, it was a major blessing. I am a creative being and I think if I didn't have something major to create during that time, I would have gone into a deep, dark and lonely depression. Building this home was truly a labor of love and hope for a brighter future ahead of us.

More updates to come on this... I will get caught up one day on this old blog. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Head Shaving Party

Well, Hudson's hair was shedding worse than a dog so we knew it was time to shave it off... mainly for sanitary reasons. I wasn't really ready for it, but I knew it had to happen. I told him that we wouldn't do it until he was ready and we would make a party out of it and I would shave his uncles hair and cousin Gunnar's too. He didn't want to at first (which I was kind of glad) but then quickly changed his mind and said "Okay-- I want to do it today!" So we called all of our family and made a party out of it. It meant to much that they were all such great sports and showed their love and support that way! It truly meant the world to us!

Parker's strength and Hudson's changing look

I always worried about Parker with everything going on with Hudson. I didn't want him to feel like he wasn't important or special because of all the attention Hudson was getting from everyone. I read him a book for siblings of chronicely ill children and it really helped him understand his feelings and emotions with what was happening. I felt so much guilt when I had to be away and dedicating most of my energy towards Hudson and his needs and Everett usually took up the rest being so young and demanding of my attention. But Parker amazed me with his strength and ability to cope and be happy and was such a helper. It made him sad to see his brother and best bud having such a hard time and not wanting anything to do with him really while he went through his first month of treatment. I am so grateful for Parker and for his sweet and tender spirit. He really fits the "oldest child" mold. So responsible and on top of things. I am sure a lucky mama to have him.

The only word that comes to mind when I see these pictures of Hudson is: Uncomfortable. The poor guy was just plain uncomfortable in his own skin as he dealt with the awful side effects of heavy doses of chemotherapy and steroids. 

See what I mean when food was the only thing that brought him joy most of the time? Oh, and baby Porter always brought a smile to his face! He loved being able to feed Porter his bottle when he was feeling up to it.

Cravings and thick hair

     Hudson's cravings were kicking in-- full effect! All he cared about was food. I couldn't bribe him with toys or movies-- he only thought about food (obsessed about it really.) It was the craziest thing to watch. I've never seen the kid throw down so much food in his life but telling him no was seriously not an option because it was the only thing that brought him joy and satisfaction during that super crappy time. So we pretty much gave into every craving ranging from grilled fish and veggies to cheese balls to hamburgers to ice cream sandwiches... you name it. He wanted it!
 We brought him to Parkers flag football practice because he really wanted to come watch. He had to wear a mask because we worried about him catching anything. I was so attached to his dark, thick, luscious beach waves. I took this picture because I couldn't believe he still had this much hair a month into it! but literally the next day, it started shedding like crazy. It wasn't falling out in chunks per say, but it was all over his pillow case and even getting in his food. So we knew it wouldn't be long before it all came out.

Easter with the Larsens 2016

We enjoyed being with all of the Larsen's for Easter Sunday. Although Hudson wasn't feeling too great that day and his steroids were definitely kicking in full force, we still had fun being with family again. The kids loved finding eggs at the annual easter egg hunt. 

 That's a lot of cousins right there! Getting a group shot of them is no easy task, but entertaining to see all of us jumping up and down and yelling "Say cheeeeeeese!!" 
Poor Hudson was a good sport in this pic. I don't know what Steve was laughing at, but it looks like it was something funny. Oh how laughter is so healing for the soul. 

Everett's cuteness

 Everett and Cade are best buds and give each other big tide hugs every time they see each other. That was the best part of living next door to their cousins. They got to see each other every day and play. Aren't they just the cutest?! Those were hard ages because they were into EVERYTHING... but they made up for it in their insane cuteness and chubby cheeks.

Everett started swim lessons last summer and loved it! The first lesson, he didn't shed a single tear. The second, he whined and panicked when she made him go under water. The third lesson, he cried the second we go there the entire lesson! But it only took a couple more times for him to start getting warmed up to the idea. He's my little water baby and would live in the bathtub and pool if I let him!

He's also very entertaining and funny if you can't tell by these pictures! We sure love his happy, fun little personality!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Life Lately...

Hudson was cold at his clinic appointment and we completely forgot his blanket. So Steve came up with a perfect solution...
 That's true love right there.
 I know a lot of my blog posts are about Hudson going through his cancer treatment. I love Parker and Everett just as much. Its hard to share and catch up on SO much that has happened in the last several months that I'm trying to get all of the big things in. I hope all of our boys know how much we truly love them, unconditionally. Parker and Everett have been good sports through everything we have had to go through. They bring so much joy and happiness and smiles to our family.
 This is a picture of Hudson and I on a sushi date (cooked sushi of course) right after his chemo and spinal tap. He was having the biggest craving for sushi and this was the ONLY reward our little steroid craving boy wanted after his spinal tap. The doctor gave us the okay, as long as it was freshly made from a clean place. We sat right at the bar and watched them make it for us. It was hard to watch him shake and tremor with each bite he took. We didn't have much of a conversation and most of our date was in silence. But I was okay with the silence knowing that he was able to get a glimmer of happiness on that no fun day. He got really tired by the end of the meal and I asked for the check when I noticed him falling asleep as he ate.

 Falling asleep while eating or taking his pills became a normal thing for him. Poor little guy.

 My sister, Brianne, wanted to get him something that made him happy. She went to Barro's Pizza and explained her nephews situation and asked if she could buy a bottle of ranch. Not only did they give it to her for free, they gave her an ENTIRE GALLON to give to Hudson! It was awesome! We ate ranch with everything for a couple months. :) We also gave jars of ranch away to family that enjoyed it as much as us. 
 This was the first time Hudson ever sat on the ground to "play". He sat up and made sure his throw up bowl was next to him as he was very nauseous from all of his chemo and medication. What a champ he is!
 Mean while, Hudson and and Everett enjoyed playing together a lot next door and enjoyed drinking their protein shake bottles. They are best buds and love each other so much!
Hudson also loves eating frozen berries!
 Parker was my side kick on my Costco trips and helped me pick out our groceries. He is such a good, kind hearted boy and so responsible in every way!