Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a break.

finally. after months and months of spending most of my time in the river house we are heading to kentucky tomorrow. and i love kentucky. i only lived there for a little bit. but man it has a special place in my heart. we were not anticipating being able to travel with cancer. did not want to risk it. but my doctor said its cool. as long as i feel up for it we are good. he did give me a little antibiotic...just in case. and i can not wait to get out of here for a bit. we are going to celebrate the season with family. mostly justin's family. but my sister lives there now too and my other sister is making the drive from michigan. its going to be great. we will bring in the new year together and have another very important party. miss ava is turning one. not until next week but we are going to party a little early. i have chemotherapy on the 6th so i will probably not be in any condition to host a party. so sara offered. and we can not believe she will be one. but that is for another post.

its been a busy few days which is strange since i was snowed in until this morning. i had not left the house since friday. but for some reason it has been real busy. mostly because ava is not napping as much and therefore i can not get anything done. she likes to be attached to me as much as possible. which is sweet. really it is because i love that little girl. but it slows everything down. so i am done for today. we are packed. ready to go. crossed off everything on the to do list. best feeling ever.

almost time for top chef all stars.

i feel pretty good. tired. but i am learning to handle tired. and we are off...

little ava after her bath. thanks leslie b.

Monday, December 27, 2010

our own little christmas miracle.

yup. it happened. i enjoyed christmas. not only enjoyed it. but loved it. i did not miss a thing. i even went to church on christmas eve. are you kidding me? it usually takes me three days to shower let alone get ready and actually leave the house. but its true. we did it. and sweet ava was definitely that child in the back row who randomly squealed and possibly yelled when she saw another baby in the congregation. she loves babies. its precious. and i was that mom who did not think it was distracting at all. i thought it was adorable.


chemo was its usual self. i threw up and i slept. came home and slept more. i actually can barely remember thursday at this point. i was sick. but not as horrible as last time. oh, i forgot we opened a few christmas gifts thursday morning before chemo. just in case i was too sick over the weekend. ava got a cabbage patch doll from her daddy and loved it. it was a nice way to start our chemo day. we decided to stop at starbucks and pick up coffee for my nurse and for ourselves. i started crying on the way. but tried to hide it. justin clearly noticed. and i told him that i was sorry for how i have been acting. i just get sad sometimes. depressed too. i am insecure. i am gaining weight and my hair is falling out. and we are about to go to kentucky to see family and i am a little nervous to see everyone. he assured me that i am beautiful.  which is nice...but still. i cried at chemo too. my first time crying there. its just sad. and i thought about an email i got from my good friend the night before chemo about how proud she is of me for even getting out of the car to go to chemo. i never thought about that because we were not given a choice. so we drive there. we get out. and we get chemo. and we go home. but we only have three left. we got this.

friday i got up and felt pretty good. we went to starbucks. and opened more presents. watched movies. played with new toys. went to church. ordered carrabbas to go. it was perfect. really it was a miracle. seriously. thank you to those of you who prayed specifically for that. it happened. justin even said to me in bed that night..."babe, you looked stunning tonight. seriously beautiful. so good that maybe people think we are lying about you even having cancer." we are not lying about my cancer.

christmas day. opened presents. i felt ok. when ava napped i napped and woke up feeling sick. even when justin came into our bedroom with his arms full of christmas gifts (someone dropped of five bags full of gifts for us...unbelievable. we do not know who you are but thank you). i was too sick to open them. i was the most sick on christmas day but still better than normal. so we were real thankful for that. ava liked her gifts. but still seems to prefer to play with our laptops, cell phones, and anything she is not supposed to have. later that night while watching a movie we were given the gift of a white christmas. which is rare for chespeake. and the snow did not stop. it snowed and snowed...

we were snowed in on sunday. since chesapeake has like five snow plows for the entire city we were encouraged to stay off the streets. so we listened. and stayed inside. it was a relaxing day of playing, eating, napping, reading, movies, etc. justin even made homemade marinara sauce for our pasta at dinner. and it was good. i gave ava a bath while justin cleaned up dinner. since giving her a bath takes less energy. and there is nothing like walking out of your daughter's bedroom after reading, singing, and saying prayers to see your entire house. yes the entire house cleaned up. there were even a few candles lit in the kitchen. which is my favorite. there is something special about ava being in bed, the day is done, the house is picked up (for the most part), and we head upstairs. knowing that not much else is required of us for this day.with only the christmas tree lights on. i make some coffee and we eat peppermint stick ice cream (which i had forgotten we even had!) and say to justin that this weekend was a dream for me. in lots of ways. mostly because i was not too sick. and because it was our first christmas with ava. and i love being with my family. just us three. and that we were snowed in so justin could not leave. which makes him stir crazy but i love it. and he really handled it very well. it was nice to be home. because i love our home. and it was nice to not fake it. but genuinely feel well enough to enjoy everything christmas as to offer.

and we documented it. see link below.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

it just sucks. (sorry mom you hate that word).

my mom hates the word sucks. but since i am 27 and an adult i feel good about it being the title for tonight. since that is the best way to describe how i feel right now.

tonight was awesome. well today too. it was family day. running last minute christmas errands. getting lunch. just being together. then we took sweet little ava to see this christmas light display at the botanical gardens. it was precious. she loved it. we took her out of her car seat so she was up front with us. oh, man she is such a big girl. we were going 5 mph. so do not worry. we were going to do presents tonight but i fell asleep on the way home so we will do them at some point this weekend. i was just too tired.

4 more. and man this is the saddest one for me. i hate that i will be sick for christmas. i seriously hate it. i have never prayed this much. as much as i did today. just begging the Lord that i would not be miserable after this treatment tomorrow. it could happen. i know it. there is just such joy for me during this time of year and chemo just has its way of stealing that joy. not all of it. but some of it. i even thought today...what if we just did not show up tomorrow. what would they really do to me? but i decided that would not be the best choice. so we will go. i will do it. we will do it. me and justin. we will endure treatment number nine tomorrow. together. because that is was what we do. we do this thing together. and its good and its hard. and sometimes we mess up. but we are in this.

pray that tomorrow we experience a little miracle. one that includes me not throwing up at treatment. and then not throwing up and feeling horrible for the next five days. without being cliche...that would seriously be the best gift ever. and i mean ever.

enjoy this season. this amazing time where we celebrate jesus and his birth. and his life. the life that changed everything.

Monday, December 20, 2010

i like monday.

on mondays we always get a ton of mail. and i love it. so thank you.

we had a fun and restful weekend in the outer banks. it was nice to get away for a little bit. and shop. and eat. and play games. and talk. some of my most favorite things. minus games. just kidding. and ava liked it too. even though she slept in the bathroom. she is so good. and is getting so close to walking!

justin and i went out last night. saw black swan. and he hated it. but before the movie we talked on the way and at dinner about our marriage. and how in august when everything happened we were so in sync. and in love. and on the same page. but it has not always been like that since. besides that we have never stopped loving each other. its been so so good. and so so hard. so last night we talked about some good stuff but was tough too. respect. listening. leadership. being kind. serving. compassion. and how we both saw august as the one of the sweetest times ever in our marriage. so we apologized. and both shared what we would work on. and where we want to go from here. so now its about doing that. and today was good. and i am thankful for that. i do not want to ever be married to anyone else.

tomorrow we see the doctor. and thursday is chemo. we hate that. but thankful that we are going to have a relaxing and restful christmas with just the three of us. praying i am not as sick this time so i can enjoy it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

it feels a little crazy here. but in a good way.

since wednesday i have been back to me. feeling good. tired but that's normal. its so nice to feel well enough to really play with ava oppose to laying on the couch and simply supervising her. we have been staying inside the past few days. which i love. justin gets a little stir crazy. but the weather was actually not so good here yesterday and he was able to come home early. love it. but christmas cards has been my major endeavor since they arrived a few days ago. overwhelmed to say the least. but good. i kinda like it. last night i finished about 150 while sitting upstairs with justin listening to christmas music. something else i love. but i took the time yesterday to go through every card we have been given since i got sick. wow. i have saved everything. and i wanted to count them but i forgot because i ended up reading each of them again. and i was overwhelmed with emotion. it brought me back to august. when everything seemed so scary with so many unknowns. what would having cancer look like? feel like? how would it impact our lives? could we do it? what would it all mean for ava? and for justin? and for our marriage? and for our life? i think i like how it is now much better. now a few months later we have the answers to some of those questions. and they are good. not everything has been good. or easy. or even fun. clearly. i still have cancer. i still have 4 more treatments. and until we get the results of my pet scan in feburary we do live with some unknowns. and that is not easy. but we did not sign up for easy. nothing about following Jesus is really easy. but good and hard are okay. and we get that more now than ever. but mostly cancer really has been such a gift. its changed everything. something not everyone gets. but we did. and so i see it as a real gift. not all parts of it. but most of it. and i think that is how it works most of the time. you get some or lots of bad with the good. but it makes the good that much sweeter and that much more precious. so i am thankful for that. thanks for reading this blog. and walking in this valley with us. its made all the difference.

and this week i have received more emails than i have in a while. and i appreciate it more than i know how to express. thanks for sharing your life with me. it is so humbling. really it is.

off to the outer banks for the weekend with some dear friends. i love that in the midst of cancer. we are still living. really living. and in some ways feel more alive than ever. not everyday. but today i do.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a little something we wrote.

a sweet girl emailed me and asked if we would write a little something for a newsletter. she is the campaign coordinator for the Hampton Roads (area where we live) Light the Night walks which raises money for blood cancers. Its through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

so here it is... 

had never worried much about my health. I don't think many of us do until we have to. For me it started with leg cramps, night sweats, and pain in my right rib. Pain I assumed was my body changing post pregnancy. My husband, Justin and I had welcomed our sweet little Ava into the world in January 2010. I figured the pain I was having was normal and I was not very concerned about it. We were headed out of town for the month of August so right before we left I figured I should at least get a physical and maybe get some pain medication for my rib and leg pain. That doctor appointment started what would become a whirlwind of appointments that would lead to a diagnosis we never imagined. After a day of ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood work we got that call. The one where my doctor says, "no rush, but can you come into my office by 5pm (its 4:30pm) and be sure to bring your husband." I dropped the phone and began to weep. I had held it together all day never imagining anything serious would come out of this. It was just a little pain. Well for us the diagnosis was Lymphoma (nodular sclerosis hodgkin's lymphoma). Justin and I walk out to our car and look at each other and say," we will beat this," but we are numb. We know one thing. God is good and we trust His plan for our lives not our own. Within the next few weeks we find out its stage 4 due to the cancer being found in my chest, right rib, and hip. Chemotherapy begins two days later where I will start my 12 rounds of treatment. Every other Thursday beginning in August and ending in February 2011.

Days after my diagnosis I woke up in the middle of the night and started a little blog. A way to keep our friends and family involved in this new journey. Within days we received an overwhelming outpour of cards, emails, flowers, gifts, and phone calls. It was honestly incredible. It was such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. For many people, near and far that did not know what to do or what to say our dear family and friends (some strangers too) in Kentucky and Tennessee rallied around us and raised money, made t-shirts, created team libby bracelets, and walked in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Night the Light walk. As we received pictures from the walk. A giant card from our family in northern Kentucky with pictures from the race. Money that was raised. T-shirts mailed to us. We did not feel alone. People were in this with us. And that has made all the difference.

I have completed eight treatments and I have four more to go. At this point we have been given news that my chemotherapy is working and the cancer in my body is not only not growing, but barely exists! God is good. We have experienced much fear and heartache and still do today. As this has been a scary road for us. In the midst of it all we have experienced the love of God in a way we never knew existed. I see life differently now and I think that is a gift. Our marriage is different. The way I love our daughter looks and feels different. Everything has changed. In such a short time. And I am so thankful for that. I did not know anything about Lymphoma before I was diagnosed or about the Light the Night walk. But its such a beautiful picture of family, friends, and strangers coming together for a common goal: to fight this deadly disease.

From my husband, Justin...

What can you say if you have an amazing and extraordinary wife? Not much. You can just be thankful and hope not to mess it up. Many of you husbands know what I'm talking about. As a spouse with a wife who has cancer, I have felt powerless. As a husband, I have felt overwhelmed. As a caregiver, I have felt inadequate. As a Christian, I have felt ALIVE. It's amazing what God will do through our weakness, and He has done much. He has showed me, for one thing, what an amazing wife I have been blessed with.

Mostly I am in awe of Libby. She has endured through pain upon pain, triumphing over despair by continuing to read, pray, dream, and well... blog. Her blog and the attention has reminded her of what I always tried to remind her -- that she has a voice. Her voice includes words and experiences that are being used by God to affect people in transformational ways. I don't have much advice for spouses out there, but if I could say anything, it's this: remind your wife/husband that in the midst of feeling run down, beat up, sick, and tired, that they still have a shot of using cancer. That is can be used for the greatest purpose of a human life: to Glorify God Himself.

Libby's cancer has not been wasted, and darling, I have never been more proud of anyone in my life who was able to transcend a situation and use it for good. Well done Lib -- I could not have done it as well as you with such profound beauty. (Also, you really do look amazing in your hat :) (i have a bald spot that justin just informed me off as i am in hair loss now i wear hats).

We do have cancer -- but we have each other, and we have Jesus. So in that, we have everything. God Bless you cancer patients and spouses this holiday season. Regardless of where you are at, EXPLORE, O please explore the idea of how not to waste this disease, though terrifying as it is. And may you feel the grace that is yours in Christ this Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

its snowing here.

i am sitting in our bedroom in bed. my favorite place. well sorta. we decided that when i am done with cancer we are getting new bedding or something. a new fresh start. but i am looking out our windows onto the water and its snowing. and its beautiful. since i am from Michigan i am used to snow. but having lived in Virginia for a few years i enjoy the small dusting that we get here oppose to what Michigan has to offer. i kept bringing ava up to the window this morning to show her the snow and even caught her on video. but she did not seem to really care. i tried.

it was a tough tough weekend. the worst weekend with cancer yet. i do not recall feeling this miserable since my meta port was put in back in august. i am not sure why this round of chemo was so bad. but for whatever reason it was and it was hard. and i got sad. thankfully rose was here and she was a huge help with ava, laundry, and cleaning up. we needed her. i muster all my strength for ava. to lay her down for her nap. or feed her lunch. or give her a bath. or lay on the couch while she plays. and put her to bed at night. my most favorite thing. thankfully her little bug only last 24 hours. it was the first time she has been sick since she was born. and now i get it. i understand why its so hard for moms and dads to see their kids sick. you are so helpless. you try whatever you can to comfort them. or take the pain away. but she is doing fine and has since saturday. so thankful. its tough when we are both sick.

seeing ava sick on friday did give me a little glimpse into what this must be like for him. justin that is. watching me get chemo. get my blood drawn. my hair fall out. my throwing up. and the constant discomfort i felt this weekend. i hate it for you. and i know you hate it for me. when i am sick in bed and everything seems a bit foggy post chemo. i always have vivid images of you coming into bed and asking me how i am. if i need anything. almost begging me to think of something. so maybe. even if for a minute you can help ease the pain. thanks for being here. even if being here is all you can do. its enough.  so thank you.

last night i went to bed early. but before falling asleep i went on the internet for a bit. thought i would check out matilda jane. its clothes for little girls. and started to pick out a couple dresses for ava. then thought about it some more. buying ava clothes will not make me feel better. or will it? i came to the conclusion that it wont. i do love there clothes. and i may still buy her some for christmas. but its more than that. its more about the absolute loss of control that i/we have been given since august. the hardest thing about my cancer. the absolute hardest thing (minus me dying. since at this point we have every reason to believe that my chemo is working and come february i will be cancer free. yay). is that nobody asked me. nobody asked me if i wanted cancer. but mostly its the physical and emotional roller coaster. feel good one week. then horrible the next. totally feel like myself. then the next day too sick to get out of bed. it is hard. and this weekend made that real clear. i feel like we are really experiencing what its like to not make plans...too far in advance. or how often we have to cancel things. or think we are the ones running the show. i am not wanting to be dramatic here. i just think justin and i have really realized how this aspect of cancer has been trying for us.

he came into our room last night and i told him about my matilda jane dilemma. that really had nothing to do with clothes for ava. but how i have seen in myself how easy and how temporary it is to want to fix everything with stuff. and do not get me wrong. not even for a second...there is joy in it. and the gifts. the flowers. the packages. the meals. the money. the pictures. they have made a very difficult time joyful. to feel loved by people. by family. friends. and strangers. who care enough to take the time to send something. it has been one of the greatest gifts in getting cancer. but last night i caught myself looking to things. maybe a dress for ava would make me less nauseous. but it wont. the feeling is fleeting. its not deep joy. not eternal joy. so we prayed. something i am embarrassed to share that we have not done a lot together. sometimes its all a little too real for us. i would rather pray alone. just me and God so no one can hear what i am pleading and begging for. because the pain is too deep. but last night as my husband knelt beside me in our bed and prayed. i was given a glimpse of his heart. and what he is asking for. and what his pain looks like. and saying it out loud is hard. because then you know its real. but thankful that we have a God who wants to carry this for us. we simply need to give it to him. and last night we did.

Friday, December 10, 2010

8 down and 4 to go. and two sick girls in the house.

to help with my anxiety and throwing up before, during, and after chemo my dr. prescribed me some medicine. and its magically. i only threw up once at chemo and in addition i slept through most of it. perfect. chemo itself was fine. and it went fast. and its one more done and out of my life forever.

when we arrived home from chemo...lots of fun things were waiting. justin's mom had arrived safe and sound from ky. she will be here until monday to help with ava and to celebrate christmas together a little early. and she has been a ton of help as i am feeling much worse than normal. oh, back to the fun things. some flowers has been delivered. thank you. and ava's new pink anywhere chair arrived in the mail from her papa and oma. and her new car seat from pop pop came too. big day for little ava! and she was sound asleep when we got home and then decided to take a 2.5 hour nap. perfect. the rest of the day is a bit foggy. but i do recall rose bathed her. and i put her to bed. and then we all rested upstairs.

today has been hard. ava has decided to throw up both her bottles. one when she woke up. and again after drinking some water and eating some cereal. and then one more time during her morning nap. ahhh. she ate lunch fine. i went to bed and rose played with her upstairs. but she said she wanted to be held and  was a little more fussy than normal. two things about that. ava rarely likes to be held. and she is rarely fussy. but she has no other symptoms. so praying praying its just a one day upset tummy. its just a sick place. my stomach is killing me. i am so nauseous. and i have taken every medication i am allowed to take. so sleep is my only relief. and i am off to do so. this is just hard. its hard because i need to rest and recover but i want to be with my baby too. and although rose is here to help it is hard for me to lay in bed if i hear ava crying. so i got up to bath her after she threw up. and read to her and sang to her before her nap. got up to help with lunch. and then held her and laid her down for her afternoon nap. its hard for me to allow people to help sometimes. but i need to. because we need the help and i know that. its all just hard today. and i just want ava to feel better. honestly that is all i want.

off to sleep. praying both the girls in the ryder house wake up feeling like new.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

there is something about this time of year.

my aunts had to head back to chicago. but many memories were made. it was restful and peaceful. i had to get a shot as my wbc count was a little low. 420 and normal is like 5000. but it was painless. mostly. there is something so interesting about this time of year. it brings something out of me. deep inside. in the midst of the joy i feel a little sad. not sure why. maybe because emotionally i am in a thousand places. but its still good stuff. well mostly good. my aunt mary bought ava a little christmas lullaby cd. ava sings to it. and i do too but with actual words. but something moves inside me when i hear...oh, holy night and what child is this...and it makes me happy for our life. our family. and without being selfish my own life. mostly because i have never really thought much about my health. and the immense gift that it is to be healthy and strong and young. and although i am still those things i am not as healthy as i thought i was before august. and that brings a lot of tears. some are sad ones. and some are fearful ones. and some are happy ones because i love this time of year. i love how our upstairs feels. i love that ava has a stocking. i love the garland that is wrapped around our banister. and i love my christmas wreath from target. it was a little treasure i found in the towel aisle. someone had clearly changed there mind about purchasing it because as i went to grab a navy hand towel for the bathroom...huh a christmas wreath in the same aisle. and snatched up.

the timing of me getting sick is so interesting to me. started in august and ending in february. so many special times fall in those months. justin's birthday. my birthday. thanksgiving. christmas. new years. and ava's birthday. and like everything else in our life they will all forever take on a new meaning. and because we are still in the midst of it all i am not sure about a lot of things. but i see the timing as a gift. just another way we see christ in all of this. every year we celebrate my birthday and i am cancer free it will always call for a party. same for justin and for ava. we now see health as such a gift. something we are never guaranteed. so when we have health cherish it. i did not even know i had to before. but all this... did something big in me.

i tried to explain to justin how i am feeling tonight when we were giving ava a bath. because during her dinner i turned on the christmas cd. and i sat in front of the sink. looking out our window where it was dark. so i could not see anything. and as some tears streamed down my face while listening to what child is this...i knew tonight would be etched in my memory forever. and if not at least i wrote about. but my soul feels tender and weak. but in a good way. like i can't do this without you. this little child. jesus. wow am i glad you were born. so as i think about christmas. and think about jesus. i turned around to look at ava and thought to myself...i am really glad jesus was born. and that because of him i am not alone in this. even when i feel so alone. so tired. and so done. done with all of this cancer stuff. i hold tight to what is true. and that even though i hate everything about thursday. i am trying to be thankful for it because if it is doing what its supposed to than after febuary 2011 i will never have to do it again. and that sounds real nice.

we are upstairs now. and about to watch a movie. time for date night. at home style.

Monday, December 6, 2010

our birthday tradition. a few weeks late.

justin got home last night from camp. all us girls picked him up and we headed to high street for italian. we celebrated our birthdays a little late and kept ava up a bit later than usual and she did great. we sat at a table near the christmas tree so she was a bit mesmerized by the twinkly lights. last year we spent my birthday in chicago with my two aunts that are here visiting us now. we ate a little italian place there for my birthday too so now its a tradition. but last year our older italian server personally sang me happy birthday. but first imagine an exaggerated italian accent. a man with a larger belly (not judging). singing...."haaaapppppy birrrrthday dear lllliiiibbbbbbyyyy..." loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear. it was classic. we still talk about it. since he could not be there with us this year...justin improvised. it was perfect. and before we left for dinner i decided to imitate it myself...but instead sang happy birthday to little ava. well she was not too sure what to think of it. so as i held her and sang she buried her head into my chest as deep as she could go. not laughing. not crying. just not sure what to do with it. but either way it was hilarious to us. oh, sweet ava.

it was a relaxing weekend. lots of coffee. pajamas. meals out. a little shopping. and a few movies. i love our upstairs at night when the lights are off and just the christmas tree lights up the room. its comfy and cozy. and its nice to feel good. like myself. but today is more or less the last day of that. shot tomorrow. chemo thursday. but i am okay. as the end is beginning to be in sight for us. but we will enjoy today. a little walk through the chesapeake arboretum is next on the agenda.

and so i do not forget how i am feeling today...i am thankful for my energy level. not thankful for my thinning hair. but i got a few hats to keep me warm.

and there are a few of you out there who have not sent us your address. please feel free to do so.

Friday, December 3, 2010

a girls weekend.

my aunts from chicago are here. and its been great. justin is out of town for the weekend. so its just the girls. and ava is loving it. more attention for her. on monday night when justin was at yl club and ava was asleep. i decided to work on something i have been putting off for months. i am not sure why but i have. when ava was born i was given a calender for her to document different milestones for each month of her first year of life. i did a real good job from january to july. july 20th to be specific. but then it stopped. because our life stopped right about then. or just shifted focus for a bit. so when i opened the calender and saw the blank pages. august. september. october. november. my heart sank. and i wept. hard. i just hated that i felt like i had missed those months with ava. i didn't. i know that. but i hated that i could not remember the exact day she crawled. or when she first waved. or the day she said "dada" for the first time. but i pulled it together and just started writing. trying to remember everything. when it happened (ish) and i am okay with that. and thankfully i really did not miss anything. because i am with her everyday. and that is a gift in itself. i just hate how quickly you forget the little things. and man i love this little girl. and i swore i would not forget anything. and i would nurse her until she was one. and i would make her homemade baby food. but life happened. the way it does sometimes. things go differently then you planned. or things happen that you never would plan in a million years. but that's life. things change. they do not go the way we thought. but in our fear and despair...we are surprised. and God moves through it all. and everything is different. but its good. not all of it. but some of it. justin and i were talking last night over dinner. and because we were connecting and i wanted to keep talking i unknowingly gave ava more graham crackers than any person. let alone an eleven month old should eat. but he said...."babe. we never thought we would spend half of our daughters first year of life going to chemo every other thursday. and thinking about death. and experiencing what we have. but in the middle of it all we now know how much God loves us. how he is for us. even in all the darkness and pain. he is so for us." and its true. 

the ryder family of three has officially decorated the river house for christmas. our stockings are hung. the tree is up. its fake and its too small for the room. but we will be purchasing a new larger tree at an after christmas sale. but until next year our little tree will work. and i love it. ava found an ornament in the pile of decor and it was a bell and she rang that thing. and she loved it! so we are ready for the season. and this season we are grateful for many things. but mainly that my cancer is shrinking. and that i am not bald...yet. and for ava. and that i love my husband more than i ever thought possible. really. 

and we have a little family adventure coming up...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

we have a little favor to ask.

needless to say our family has been overwhelmed with emails, cards, packages, money, gifts, meals, texts, babysitters, housecleaners, a golf outing, visitors, flowers, phone calls, etc since i got sick. wow! it has been unbelievable. really. our little family would like to send you something. not that we could ever repay you, just a christmas gesture, something for the season. to thank all of you who have done one or all of the things listed above to bless us. we want to do this. so to make it a bit easier on justin and i could you please email me at with your name and address. and please put address in the subject line. this would be such a gift to us. thank you.