Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reese is home!

I want to thank everyone for your prayers. It means so much to me to have my family and friends praying for Xander's little friend. Reese is home now and is recovering slowly from the surgery. Here is an update from Kristina, Reese's mom. (taken from Reese's care page)

Home Sweet Home!
Posted 1 hour ago

Hi All,
We are home and enjoying every minute of it! Reese has done amazingly well through all of this, she truly is an inspiration and I gain so much strength from her. I think to myself if she can handle this I can.
The surgery took about 2 hours and went very well. Dr. Miller was able to do a partial sternotamy which means he only had to break her sternum half way down which was wonderful. We are still waiting on pathology but everyone involved was very encouraged by the look of the tumor. The tumor was very tangled in her major arteries of the neck so it was a tricky surgery but Dr. Miller did an amazing job.
We spent 1 night in the ICU and then the rest of our stay on the 3rd floor. This is the most pain I have ever seen Reese in and it is very hard to watch but she is getting stronger every day. Her voice is coming back but still very soft and sad sounding. She was very weak from the surgery and very wobbly when she walked but that is improving also.
Since getting home Reese has began to eat much better which will help with her strength also.
The next step is to wait on pathology and then determine our path for the coming months. We are praying for a benign tumor and if that is the case we will do frequent scans to make sure she stays clear.
For now I ask that everyone continue to pray for Reese and all the other little cancer warriors.
Our friend Lukas MacDonnell from Cooks [Children's Hospital] is at the hospital now and could use some prayers as well-
We also want to thank everyone for their kind words of support and offers to help, it touches our hearts and makes a difference.
Love to All,
The Harding's

Friday, December 26, 2008

The day the big guy came to our house....

Xander still doesn't understand the whole Santa concept and is deathly afraid of the guy. But he sure is happy with all his new stuff! Note to self....don't buy so much stuff next year. Too much stuff! He doesn't even know about half of the presents because I ended up putting them away. He was just overwhelmed by all the toys- it was too much. We will get the other stuff out probably for his birthday.
Here are some pictures of Christmas morning.

He got a ride-on car....

And a parking garage.....

And a Clifford the big red dog ride-on....you may notice we only have one picture of him on this toy. He only knew about it because I picked him up and put him on it. He still doesn't even care that he has it. Clifford is his favorite character but apparently not his favorite "ride-on". Oh well. It goes up to 65 pounds so he has some time to get to like it. I just hope he likes it eventually. LOL

He loves his new car/road mat....

The thing we will remember most about this day is what he did when we asked him if he wanted to open a present. His speech therapist has been teaching him to knock on the baby gate and say "open please" when he wants to go through the gate. Or knock on daddy's office door or basically anything he wants opened. He doesn't say "open please"....that is what we are working on. He just knocks. So I handed him a present to open and asked if he wanted to open it. He knocked on it. It was so funny. We have it on video so I will post the video.

Anyway, we hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We are sending out New Year's cards and a newsletter this year. We totally missed the Christmas card boat. Oh well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Reese update......

Here is an update on Reese. I took this directly from her care page (http://www.carepages.com/carepages/ReeseAddisonHarding) written by Kristina, Reese's mom.
Thank you all so much for praying for Reese. I will continue to update you as I hear more.

Hi All,
We have had another busy day! Dr. Granger called this morning to tell us that the initial path[ology] still seems to be very favorable and that they hoped to have a final answer tonight- I haven't heard yet...But they felt so confident in the results that they have scheduled surgery for next Tuesday December 23rd.
We will talk with Dr. Miller on Monday about the details of the surgery, but I know it is going to be a somewhat difficult surgery. It was compared to an open heart surgery as far as the way they will do the incision. It scares me to death, but I have to be happy that we are not starting with chemo which means they think the tumor will be benign!
We will definitely be in the hospital for Christmas since we will probably spend a few nights in the ICU and a few on the regular [oncology] floor. The good thing is Reese will not know it is Christmas.
Today we went in to the hospital and had an X-Ray to make sure the tumor was not constricting her airway- Good news! It has shifted her airway but it does not look constricted at all!
Reese seems to be feeling pretty good and is enjoying seeing more of Mommy and having the Grandma's in town to visit! We will try and have a fun weekend and celebrate Christmas a little early.
I want to thank everyone again for all their support. I ask that everyone continue to pray for our little Reese. Pray that the surgery goes quickly and smoothly and pray that the rest of the tumor they remove is benign.
Love to All,
The Harding's

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dancing with the Star

Tracy has compiled a bunch of videos of Xander (the Star, hee hee hee) dancing and put it to music. Here it is. Oh, also, please ignore me in the background. It seems like Tracy got me in almost every video! UGH! I prefer to be more "behind the scenes" so to speak. Oh well.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Update on Reese

Reese had her surgery on Friday but they were not able to remove the tumor. The Dr. did say it looked "mature" which doesn't sound good but is actually considered "favorable" because it means it is done growing and isn't spreading. It is in the same place as last time. They took a biopsy of it as well as a bone marrow aspiration. They also put a new port in for chemotherapy. After being intubated two days in a row, she had some swelling and wasn't breathing well and went to the ICU. Last night she was able to leave the ICU and she is breathing well on her own now. They just got the preliminary results from the biopsy tonight and they are looking "good" but they need to wait 7-10 days for the official test results to make sure they match the preliminary results. They will be making a care plan for her tomorrow for her chemo schedule. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and I ask that you remember to continue praying for her and her mom and dad. I am very blessed to have such great family and friends that will pray for my friend that they have never even met. Thank you so much! I love you all! I will keep you updated.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Please pray for baby Reese

I have a good friend who has a baby Xander's age. Xander and Reese have been friends for almost a year. They have taken Little Gym class together and we have weekly play dates with them. When Reese started at Little Gym she had just finished up with chemotherapy for Neuroblastoma. She had responded well to the treatment. In June she had a scan and was all clear of cancer. Her port was taken out and everyone was so relieved she made it through it all. She just had another follow up scan today and they found out the cancer is back and it is worse than before. She will now have to go through a very invasive surgery where they will collapse one of her lungs to remove the tumors and then will have to go back through chemotherapy.
We love this little girl so much and can't even imagine what they are going through right now. This is Eric and Kristina's first child and they have been on such a roller coaster since they discovered her cancer last year.
Please keep them in your prayers.

This is Reese a week after her first diagnosis and surgery last year:

This is Reese last week:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Meeting Clifford The Big Red Dog

So at our local Barnes and Noble bookstore, they had a pajama storybook party where the kids could meet Clifford. I took Xander and Tracy met us there (he flew in from Mexico and got there just as Clifford was making his appearance)to meet Clifford. He loves watching the Clifford cartoons so I thought this would be so fun for him. He really loved seeing Clifford....from far away. When Tracy took him up to meet him and get his picture with him, Xander wanted to get the heck out of there. I think he was seriously wondering why his Superman cape wasn't working to fly him outta there. Oh well. He got his very first Oreo cookie to eat while they were reading Clifford books so I guess it wasn't a TOTAL loss. LOL Here are some pictures of the event.

Here comes Clifford! (He was excited at his point)

CLIFFORD! (Still excited)

"For the love of all that's holy! Save me! I beg of you! No closer!"

"I'm Superman! Why can't I fly, DANGIT!"

Some recent photos of X

We are always taking pictures of the boy so I thought I would post some of them for your viewing enjoyment. LOL

This is what happens when you give a toddler a chocolate granola bar and let him go at it:

Xander likes to get onto Callie's bed and "share" it with her. She, on the other hand, isn't so excited about the whole "sharing" process.

Xander's first time trying pomegranate seeds......survey says???? YUM!

And just in case anyone out there isn't sure if Xander is a "mini-me" of Tracy, here is yet another photo that proves they are the same person, in two different bodies.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween at our house....

I need to start this post out by saying Tracy is the brains of this operation....I am the one who executes it all. So, Tracy was the one who thought up the idea for Xander's costume and I put it together....except for the lettering...Tracy did that.
Those are just always the first questions we get when people see Xander in his costume...."Who thought that up?" and "Where did you get that?"

We had a fall festival at our church building on Saturday (the 25th) where there was supposed to be a costume contest. Apparently, someone complained to the bishop that their kids never win so there was no costume contest this year. How about people just grow up? If your kids don't win, it's because you aren't creative enough! Sheesh! So what if Joy's kids and our kid win every year? It's because we come from the same gene pool...we are smart and creative and our kids are adorable! Deal with it people! If you want your kids to win, put them in something other than the standard Wal-Mart "princess" or "superhero" costume off the rack! OK, I am off my soap box now. Sorry for the small tangent.
Here we go...

We drove straight from the airport to the church. We had Xander's costume in the car and we went into the mother's room at the church and put it on him. Here he is....Michael Phelps! (the early years...before all the training started)

Here he is from behind:

John McCain and Sarah Palin made an appearance at the festival:

Our friend Leo(organ grinder)with his son Cameron (monkey):

Xander loves pushing Logan around in his stroller (Logan was a puppy):

Xander with his friend, Luke, who was a 70's disco dude:

We had a play date with all our friends on Halloween. These kids have been together in Little Gym class all year. We have play dates every week and they all get along great. It was fun to get them all together with their costumes on.

Alaina (angel)and Madison (bee):

Gavin (BamBam) and Reese (Pebbles):

Brady as a crab:

Madison with her mom, Michelle:

Noah as a giraffe:

Noah with his mom, Nicole:

Gavin with his mom, Amanda (Betty):

Reese with her mom, Kristina (Wilma):

Group shot:

On our way home from the play date (one of the goody bags had these google eye glasses in them and Xander put them on...and kept them on!):

We didn't get any shots of Xander actually trick or treating that night but it was the funniest thing to watch. I had the stroller with us thinking that he wouldn't really get the whole idea and wouldn't want to walk but I couldn't have been more wrong. By the second house, he totally understood all of it. He would walk up to the home, show the person his medals, take some candy, put it in his pail and wave to the person. Then he would walk down the driveway and off he would go to the next house. We were laughing so hard! It was awesome! It was so much fun to go trick or treating with him and I am so glad we were both there (Tracy and I) to see it. But because we both went, we have TONS of left over candy since we weren't home to pass the candy out. Bummer. Guess we will just have to eat it all. LOL

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our trip to Marco Island, Florida

So we went on a free trip to Marco Island, Florida because Tracy qualified for President's Club. It's for the top performers in the company. If you qualify they send you on an all expense paid trip. This year it was to Marco Island, Florida. In the past it has been in Jamaica, Hawaii, Cancun, Arizona etc....The best one ever was the one to Hawaii. That rocked. We decided to "opt out" of the Jamaica trip back in 2002 and took the money instead. Arizona was the trip when I was pregnant. Anyone who knows how great my pregnancy went will pretty much know how that trip went. This was our first time going with Xander. What a totally different experience to go on a vacation with a toddler. By the first couple of hours on the island, we were thinking we wanted to take a vacation from this vacation. Xander is at the stage now where he wants to go go go and it is always in the wrong direction. And if we try to steer him into the right direction, a tantrum will erupt. Or if we pick him up and try to carry him back to where we need him to be, a tantrum erupts. So we have renamed Marco Island and now it is lovingly known as Tantrum Island. So anyway, here are some pictures of our trip.

Here is Superman....er...Xander at the airport checking out the airplanes and trucks through the window. We had a little bit of a wait to board our airplane but Xander didn't mind at all. We had to wake him up to go to the airport so he is in his jammies. Lots of people on the plane were very happy to see that Superman was on our flight. LOL

There was a dinner that night outside by the beach. We were chasing Xander around the whole time so we didn't get any pictures. Chasing Xander around ended up being the theme of the whole vacation. After a night of no sleep...for any of us...we went on a shelling excursion. We took a catamaran ride out to Romano Island to collect sea shells.

Here are some pictures of Xander and Daddy on the beach...waiting for the catamaran to pull up to shore.

Here are some pictures of Xander sporting his life vest. (just in case there are any Florida law officials checking out my blog. See? He wore the vest the whole time he was on the boat!)

We were able to see pods of dolphins while we were on our way to and from the island. This was the coolest part. It was so cool to see them in their natural habitat as opposed to dolphins at Sea World- which is also very cool...just different-cool. It was mating season and the Captain told us the day before he actually saw dolphins mating. Apparently, we were not on the dolphin porno tour. Thankfully. But we did get to see some dolphins racing the boat...it was neat. The Captain said males will do that during mating season since they are extra frisky.

Xander didn't have any interest in picking up sea shells- which were more abundant than the actual sand on the shore of Romano Island. But he did like the water coming up and covering his feet. Oh, and he also liked to wash his bus in the water.

The next day we took him swimming in the heated splash pool. He really liked it. Of course, this was the best picture I got. It was kinda raining and the lens of the camera fogged up and I didn't realize the problem until it was too late. UGH!

Then we spent some time on the balcony of our hotel room.

Then we got ready for the black and white gala. It was the awards dinner where Tracy got his award for being awesome.
This is what Xander wore. He was the hit of the evening.

Then back in the room and ready for bed. He played on the floor (which I am sure is just so clean and sanitary...I don't even want to think about the crap that was on that floor!) while we packed to leave in the morning.

It was a fun and exhausting trip. It was fun to see all the stuff the way Xander was seeing it- for the first time. But it was exhausting for the same reason. I don't know how he has so much energy! :)