28 January 2011

26 January 2011

on cold winter days...

While old man winter has set in to Central IL, Haven has been busy.

I'll let you take a peek into Haven's days inside...

Haven loves her magna doodle-she got this from us for Christmas and always is so busy drawing us pictures.

Many a time we find her with one of her "boohks", laying on Bumble, her beloved pillow pet she received from Aunt Vera...Haven LOVES Bumble!

Here Haven has "assisted" me in scooping off the driveway yet again...I even borrowed our neighbors snow shovel and rested it on her shoulder to see if she'd push it around.
While she didn't really help me, cars who drove past LOVED seeing her and it brought smiles to their faces!

she also likes her Legos

hmm...anyone notice what is usually in her hands?

and last but not least, here she is chasing after her mommy.
she loves crawling through your legs, so one day when I was in the kitchen, I just snapped a picture!

21 January 2011

Friday's Funny

grandpa~are you ready for church?

18 January 2011

a visit from the grandparents

Haven got Royal treatment this past weekend as my parents made the trip from Lester to visit for a long weekend-it was such fun! She got her "boohks" read to her many a time, drew lots of pictures on her magna doodle and got lots of kisses & hugs...Monday morning was a rude awakening in her life! :)

Haven loved rubbing Papa's smooth head :)

ready for Sunday church!

John & Cheryl Knobloch, my Dad's cousin, also hosted us Sunday evening~it was a special evening with lots of memories shared and it was neat having both my Great Aunt Eleanor & Great Aunt Vonnie there as well.

Haven & Cheryl reading her books

great Aunt Eleanor is SO much like my own Grandma Kellenberger~same look, mannerisms...everything! I always feel like I'm transported back in time with my own Grandma when we are with her.

Aunt Vonnie & Dad

14 January 2011

10 January 2011

my hero

I've written this post at least a dozen times in my mind...and it's been on my heart to write it for quite some time.

It's a hard post to write. Lots of emotions. Lots of "what-if's. and LOTS of faith.

Some of you know this. Most do not. However, it is one of the first things on my heart when I wake up each morning and one of the last prayers to be offered when I finally close my eyes at night and such a LARGE part of life right now, that I figured I share it with those friends & family out there who care & love us.

First let me introduce you to my hero: my Dad.

My Dad has been a farmer & trucker his whole life. He was absent a lot when we were kids, working early mornings and late nights in the fields to provide for us but when he was around, we always looked forward to it.

I remember cold, wintry Saturday's growing up when Dad when come in mid-morning, ask Mom a very common question, "what's for lunch dear?" and then proceed to interrupt her kitchen planning by making a large pot of chili-it was the best. Or the afternoon he came home with a dog for our farm, a friendly golden retriever named Jake. Or his surprise for us kids when we found out a couple from church was selling their swimming pool and the purchaser was none other than my Dad-that pool made for such great summer fun! Being the most talkative of my family, I often remember coming home from school or practice, throwing down my bags, sitting up to the supper table and ready to share my school day from classes, to friends, to band practice, to volleyball to cheerleading-you name it...I often had a story to tell; my often overwhelmed father, would SHH me, shake his hands, and proclaim "slow down & not so loud, we're all right here." Very true words indeed, as my designated spot at the dinner table was right next to Dad. My mother would just shake her head and say, "it's too quiet for you all day in your truck or tractor huh?!" :) I have a hinting suspicion though that deep-down, Dad loved it! Actually, I still feel like he's frequently telling me to "calm down" or say "not so loud"...that's not indicative of something, is it? :)

Dad was raised #6 in a family of 12 kids: 9 boys, 3 girls and so survival was a must. You took as much food the first time around at the dinner table as there was never seconds and everyone pitched in around the farm when necessary-making several dozen eggs for a Kellenberger breakfast was common. Therefore, my Dad taught us to be resourceful; he along with my Mom were great at letting us kids problem-solve our way through life. His #1 rule was also the golden rule: do unto others as you want done to you. If I heard that once, I heard it a dozen times-even still hear it today, at 30 years old, and now making decisions for my own family.

My Grandpa Kellenberger passed away in 1985 from prostate cancer and unfortunately, I don't remember much of him; many folks in our community of NW Iowa, say my Dad is much like Grandpa Henry-soft spoken, friendly, wise and I often times wonder if Grandpa often preached the golden rule as well.

Because of his health history, my Dad has monitored his own prostate screening for over a decade; getting PSA scores done annually (or often even 2X/year) & even having several biopsies done as well. So it was a great shock last spring when we found out Dad's biopsies came back full of cancer and his PSA score was around 16.

After immediately removing his prostate in late March, Dad seemed to be recovering well...even well enough to get in on a few rounds of spring planting in late April. But as he went back in early May for his post-surgery appointment, his PSA had soared to over 50 and a bone scan revealed that his cancer had metastasized to the bone. The urologist put Dad on hormone therapy and for the first 3-4 months, it produced great results. Dad wasn't feeling too bad and the all important PSA score came down drastically.

However, come August & September Dad was feeling pain and not quite right, so my ever vigilant, medical mother ordered another bone scan and the results were not good. The hormone therapy was indeed no longer working and his cancer was spreading at an alarming rate. This news came in early October and it was decided that Dad would try chemotherapy. Dad had seen his Dad struggle through chemo with pain & sickness back in the 80s, so this was not something he was looking forward to. Realizing medicine since the 1980s had changed, Dad & Mom decided to try it. Every 3 weeks, Dad would go stop his truck, go up to Sioux Falls and receive his bag of chemo. He ended up losing his beautiful head of black, thick, wavy hair and slowed down a bit working. It was very humbling for a man who had always helped others out with farm work or the like, now accept fall harvest work from church & community members.

4 chemotherapy treatments were ordered at that point and for the most part, Dad did pretty well; he got up every day to work and if his body let him, he would keep working; I think his oncologist recognized his resilience, as he ordered another 2 treatments to finish out Dec. At that point, another bone scan was ordered and it seemed his ever wavering PSA was now not responding to this type of chemo any longer. Thus just last week, my Dad began a new round of chemotherapy with a different drug. His Dec. bone scan showed that while the cancer masses had decreased (from his Sept. bone scan), the cancer is still aggressively spreading to new spots and his last PSA score was near 20. His oncologist has since ordered an additional 6-8 treatments of this different chemo drug to be given every 3 weeks...something my Dad is most likely not looking forward to.

My hero turned 62 on Dec. 28th and while all his life he's struggled with aliments: sore back, sore shoulder, bad knee, etc., this cancer has/is taking a toll on my Dad. He still gets up to work every day and trucks right along with the best of them...after all, "you can't let Uncle Butch get too many loads ahead!"

My family is re-learning the definition of faith & trust the last several months. Faith that our Almighty has the most perfect plan regarding my Dad's health, my Mom's supportive role and our lives in His hands and trust that "His ways are above ours" [Isaiah 55:8-9].

Those of you who have prayed, I/we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and I ask for continued prayers. Prayer is such a comforting & reassuring presence right now for all of us: my Dad, my Mom, my siblings, many aunts & uncles and I'm positive, even little Haven can feel them. [James 5:16b] My mom has a note card on her kitchen cupboard to remind us how important prayer is: Cancer is a villain which doesn't play fair, but it can't dim your spirit and it can't silence prayers.

Thanks for reading, listening & sharing...my parents have decided against a Caringbridge website for the time being, so I will do my best to post updates periodically on my blog.

much love~Katie & family

07 January 2011

Friday's Funny-messy eater

guess who is at that age that no matter WHAT I feed her, she LOVES making messes!?

06 January 2011

kent & holly

This past weekend we were able to be a part of a lovely wedding celebration in honor of our dear friend Holls up in Alto, Michigan...she busted into my life in Aug. of 2003 and has left footprints everywhere!
She is a bundle of energy, is the perfect person to come to a dinner event or party, and you never have to guess what she's thinking! We are also excited to get to know Kent a bit better as they are each other's Ying & Yang...Congratulations love-birds and we are excited to have you BOTH in our lives.

the happy couple at their rehearsal dinner

Tami & Taryn sat next to us at the rehearsal dinner-we loved it!

we ended up leaving Haven at the Miller's as it would have been impossible to attend the rehearsal dinner and fulfill our duties as host & hostess at the reception...we did miss her though (and even had a darling gray dress for her to wear!).

the newly married Levys at their reception-isn't Holly absolutely stunning?!

the beautiful bride :)
(next to their coffee bar-quite a fun idea Kristen!)

such attention to detail!
these pictures and lantern were on 1 of 2 guest book tables where guest also picked up their assigned table number

the bridal table eating their soup, salad & bread

Holls & Taryn

the A-MAZ-ING photographer with the newlywed couple

good friends catching up

03 January 2011

holiday craziness~2010

Awh...after being gone for approx. a week and a half because of travel, waking up in your own bed is a great feeling! We have been putting on quite the miles lately with family gatherings and then attending a dear friend's wedding in Michigan (more to come on this soon).

We attended 5 Christmas' in 7 days in both Illinois and Iowa. We have found that driving through the night, while hard on us, works quite well for Haven and allows us to make better time. It does take a bit of recovery but all & all, we were blessed with fairly decent weather and travel. **WARNING-Lots of pictures!**

Schlipf & Miller holidays
~Dec. 23-25~

the 1st annual Schlipf/Miller silent auction

happy birthday Aunt Vera

Haven's favorite Christmas gift-a pillow pet!

Kellenberger & Doorneweerd holidays
~Dec. 26-30~