Sunday, December 24, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Kerstin kept very busy this weekend. Saturday morning she went to the Star City Parade in downtown Lincoln. She and some other Make-A-Wish families had reserved seats in the enclosed sidewalk that goes over O Street. What a view! After the parade it was off to the roller rink for some roller skating for the Girl Scout Cookie Kick-off. Yep - we now have 2 girls in Scouts. There is no photographic evidence, but rumor has it she can skate all by herself now.
Sunday afternoon Kerstin and her family attended the Make-A-Wish Christmas party. The girls had lots of fun playing all the games, making crafts, and meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus. Kerstin's burning question for Santa was, "How do the reindeer fly?" Santa had a brilliant magical answer.
We hope you all had a wonderful weekend also.
Monday, November 27, 2006
As always, we would ask that you continue to keep in your prayers all the children (and their families) affected by cancer that have come before us and who will come after us. God bless all the medical researchers and staff striving for a cure, and all the medical professionals who lovingly take care of our children.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
We can't believe it's been 23 days since our last post. We wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't anyone checking in on Kerstin anymore :) We look at it as a good thing that Kerstin is staying well and there is not much to pass along. And we give thanks for that this Thanksgiving holiday.
Kerstin has been keeping busy. In addition to going to 1st grade, she attends Brownies on every other Tuesday, dance on every Thursday, and mid-week worship every Wednesday. The rest of her time is filled with playing, a little bit of homework, and other miscellaneous little girl stuff.
For the past ten months Kerstin has seen Dr. G for her checkups when he comes to Lincoln. For a change of pace, this Monday we are going to see Dr. G (and everyone else) at the clinic in Omaha. We are looking forward to seeing the other doctors, nurses, and patients that we have not seen for such a long time. It will be nice to get caught up on everyone.
Now that the holidays are back, we should have more pictures to post. So please check back often, and we wish everyone a blessed holiday season.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Kerstin had a doctor's appointment last week and everything looks great! We are so blessed! It has been one year since Kerstin's diagnosis. Our lives have certainly changed in the last year. We hope to never take the little things for granted. We know that God has been so good to us. We are blessed to have so many wonderful friends! Say a prayer for all of those kids out there who are still struggling with this disease. Thank you for checking on us and have a blessed week!
Sunday, October 08, 2006
We are grateful to see Kerstin happy and running this October. As we approach Kerstin's diagnosis anniversary, we continue to count our blessings. All of you are a big blessing to us!
Have a great week!
Monday, October 02, 2006
We were able to spend a very pleasant Sunday afternoon at Roca Berry Farms, aka the Pumpkin Patch with the Candlelighters group. It was a warm (94degrees!), but very fun time. Each of the girls got to pick out their own pumpkin to take home. Their favorite activity was the Haunted House (we went through 3 times in a row). McKinsey and Kerstin are working on perfecting their screaming skills. (Click here for more pictures.)
We enjoyed a bonfire complete with hot dogs and smores. It was nice to chat with some "old" friends and make some new ones. In the picture Kerstin is posing with some pumpkins - Does this look like a Senior picture pose or what?
Thanks for checking on us and have a blessed day!
P.S. We tried to post this on Sunday, but we have been having trouble with the Blogger web site.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Thanks for checking on us! Have a blessed day!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Light the Night was last Thursday (Sept 14th) at Holmes Park in Lincoln. We want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who came out and walked, and to everyone who raised money or donated to the cause. The organizers' goal was to raise $30,000, and the initial count that night was $33,000! We are still waiting to hear what the official total was. I was going to put some pictures of the event up, but the ones we took didn't turn out real well and I'm still waiting on some from one of the participants that was there.
Kerstin got to miss a half day of school today to go see her good friend Dr. G for her monthly "clinic" visit. We are happy to report that Kerstin is still doing well (her ANC is 1125) and everything else physically is progressing as planned.
Thanks for checking in we Kerstin and we'll try to do a better job of updating :)
Sunday, September 10, 2006
While we were in town, we dropped off some "K-Team" t-shirts to some friends who are participating in the Light The Night walk this Thursday in Lincoln.
We hope you are all having a great September so far. Take care and God bless.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Yesterday was the first day of school for Kerstin and her sister. Kerstin is a 1st grader this year. When her mom went in to wake her up yesterday, she found Kerstin sitting on the floor, dressed, bed made, back pack ready to go. Who knows how long she had been awake. She's been excited about going back to school for a couple of weeks and it really showed yesterday.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
It was such a blessing for the girls to spend time alone with G and G. We missed them dearly! Jeff and I did enjoy the time together, although I spent most of it getting ready for 23 third graders to come on Monday. I think we are all ready for school to start and get back into the routine again. The girls are excited to wear new outfits and see their friends again.
In case you didn't get our email, we are participating in the Light the Night walk for the Leukemia/Lymphoma society on September 14th in Lincoln. If you would like more information, please let us know. Kerstin is the honored patient for the walk this year. Cool, huh! We are putting a team together and even have team shirts available to all of our walkers (or people who would just like a "K" team shirt). Please call or email, or leave us a message if you would like a shirt. We will be ordering them on Monday afternoon. They are only $6.50, and we can get them to you the week of the walk. If you can't walk, but would like to make a donation, that would be great, too! You can send it to us or donate on-line at http://www.active.com/donate/ltnOmaha/aleafLTN. Checks can be made to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.
We hope you have a blessed week! We will try to post first day of school pictures soon.
Take care and thanks for checking on Kerstin. She still feels great! God is good!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
After deciding that we all didn't have time to make it all the way to Arkansas and back in 4 days, we decided to meet Grandma and Grandpa in Kansas City for one last summer fling. Uncle Brian and Brenna were able to join the girls and I (Annie). Unfortunately, Jeff had to stay home and work :( As you can see by the photos, the girls and the grown-ups had a great time. It took Kerstin a little bit for her to decide she wanted to go down the tube slides. Before the weekend was over, the 3 girls had mastered the very dark and scary raft ride. (Ok - Annie was the only one who really thought it was scary).
We had such a fun time swimming, sliding, playing games, eating, and just hanging out together. We also were able to do some shopping at the new Legends mall. Fun! We even had supper at the amazing T-Rex restaurant (think Rain Forest Cafe, except prehistoric).
As an added bonus, the girls get to spend the next week in Arkansas with Grandma and Grandpa! I have to go back to work this week at my new school, so I knew I would be very busy. Jeff is working, too, so it worked out great for Grandma and Grandpa to take them back to Arkansas. We miss them already!! It sounds like they are having fun hanging out at the lake, sewing, and keeping G and G VERY busy! It is back to school for them on the 28th, so they better enjoy the fun while they can.
Thanks for checking on us! Have a blessed day!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Kerstin had her monthly doctor's appointment with Dr. G today. We are happy to report that everything is going well even though her ANC is down from last time (currently at 1199 down from 1720 last month). She has had a veracious appetite lately which we think is from a growing phase. Whatever it is from, we are happy to see her thriving.
Kerstin and her sister have been attending Vacation Bible School this week. The theme is Bethlehem and the accompanying picture is of them grinding spices and making them into perfume. It is a family Bible School event where there are many "authentic" Bethlehem activities such as toy-making (with clay), a bakery, a dye shop, barnyard animals, a music shop, game-time, and, of course, lots of fun music.
We hope all is well with you and your families. Take care and thanks for checking in with Kerstin.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Our last day in paradise. (Here's the pictures.) There were no activities planned for this day, so it was also a "free day" for us. Since Kerstin's dad is a firefighter, he was tuned in to where all the Honolulu fire stations were. Fire Station #7 was about four blocks from our hotel, so we just had to stop by and visit. We permission of the on-duty firefighters, we took pictures with Engine #7. We were hoping to get some pictures with the ladder truck assigned to Station #7, but they were gone on a call. (Ladder #7 has a surf board attached to the side of it.)
After visiting the fire station, we headed back down to Aloha Tower to visit the ukelele store there and eat lunch at Hooters. Even though we don't have any pictures of it, we went back to Waikiki Beach for a couple more hours of fun in the sun since this was our last day there.
Next, we cleaned up, packed up, and went to a real nice restaurant just across from the beach. All week we had been trying to catch the sunset, but had only been successful a couple of times (with clouds). We were hoping this would be the night since the restaurant was on a second story deck right across from the beach. Unfortunately there were palm trees in our line of sight with the sunset, but it was still beautiful.
After supper we loaded up the rental car and drove to the airport. This was probably our least favorite part of the trip. It's never fun doing the "hurry up and wait" routine at the airports. Our flight didn't leave Honolulu until 10:55pm (Honolulu time). We arrived in Phoenix just after 8am local time on July 19th. From there we changed planes and arrived in Omaha at around 2pm where Deb and Kaylen from Make-A-Wish met us. Deb and Kaylen were there to welcome us back and to gather our film from the cameras that the girls had used while we were in Hawaii. Our limo was also there waiting to take us back to Lincoln.
WOW!!! What a trip. We hope everyone has enjoyed the stories and the photos. We would like to send out a "GINORMOUS" thank you to all the Make-A-Wish people in the Nebraska and Hawaii chapters, and everyone else that has ever donated to this wonderful organization.
We hope you will continue to check in on Kerstin to see how she is doing as she goes in to the last six months of her current chemothearpy treatment. (Hopefully her last six months.) Please keep all the other children who continue to battle this disease in your thoughts and prayers. And pray for all those who continue to search for a cure for all cancers.
God bless and take care.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
On day seven we split up. Jeff wanted to go hike the Diamond Head State Monument and the girls didn't find that appealing. So while Jeff was hiking, the girls went to Hilo Hattie's to do some shopping.
We all met for lunch, then got ready for the luau. The shuttle bus for the luau was supposed to pick us up at 3:30pm, but it didn't arrive until about 4:15pm. That was ok because we started out at the wrong spot to get picked up. (Lots of shuttle buses + lots of pick up points = very confusing) Thanks to rush hour traffic it took about an hour and a half to crawl along the highway to the resort where the luau was being held. Once we got there though, we had a really good time. There were all kinds of "native" Hawaiian activities to do before dinner and the show. Dinner was excellent. They served pork, chicken, fish, and plenty of side dishes. (And it was all-you-can-eat) During the show the girls got to go up on stage and show off their hula skills. It was late by the time we got back to the hotel and we were wiped out from a long day.
Click here for the pictures.
Monday, July 31, 2006
On this morning we got to go on a submarine ride. We were under water for about 45 minutes and went as deep as 119 feet. We saw all kinds of fish and some sea turtles. During the winter months there are Humped Back Whales that swim in these waters. We were curious to see how the girls handled being cooped up in the submarine and under water, but it didn't even phase them. I think there was so much stuff to look at that they were too distracted to get scared. The submarine company has sunk four artificial habitats over the past 18 years to attract the fish to these waters. The neat thing is that these are public waters and people are allowed to scuba dive here as well. It is amazing to think how clear the water is to be 100 feet under water and still be able to see 40-50 yards in front of you.
For lunch we stopped at Burger King for a Whopper with pineapple. Just kidding. Hawaii's Burger King serves the same stuff as Nebraska's Burger King. Then it was off to the beach. (Except for Jeff who was fighting a head cold and needed some extra rest.) Jeff did feel good enough to go to the beach after his nap and everyone really enjoyed the great weather in the afternoon.
Our evening consisted of walking down to the International Market Place where we ate supper at Coconut Willie's. After supper we strolled the market for bargains. The market place is about a block in length and as wide as a four lane highway. Kerstin and McKinsey found their grass skirts and sarongs. One of the shops even had a couple of cockatiels they let us hold. The evening flew by quickly and it was time to head back to the hotel and go to bed.
Click here for pictures
Sunday, July 30, 2006
...with water balloons. Later in the evening, when it was still 100 degrees, we had some of the neighborhood kids (and their parents) over for another round of water balloon fights. After we ran out of water balloons it was time to turn on the sprinkler and eat pop cycles. Everyone got cooled down, and the yard got watered. What a deal.
Today is another one of our "free days", so we went to Pearl Harbor to see the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Bowfin submarine attraction. (Click here for the pictures.) We knew we would have to get an early start if we wanted to beat the crowds and see as much as we could. The gates to the Arizona Memorial don't open until 7:30am, so we figured if we got there by 7:00am we would be in pretty good shape. As you can see by one of the pictures, there were about 300 other people with the same idea. By the time the gates opened, the line had circled around in to a spiral shape on the "front lawn" area. On a side note, ever since 9/11, security is very tight there: no bags of any kind allowed. Just you, your wallet, and your camera. Part of the Arizona Memorial experience is a 15 minute video presentation on the history of Pearl Harbor, the Memorial, and the museum. By the time we got in we were in the 4th group to see the video (shown in a small movie theater). From there they take you by ferry to the Memorial. It is a very moving experience. You are asked to remain silent and thoughtful from the time you enter the movie theater, while you are on the Memorial, until you are returned to museum area. Most people respect this request. We spent about 3 1/2 hours at the USS Arizona. From there we went next door to the USS Bowfin submarine exhibit.
The USS Bowfin is a WWII submarine that is now de-commissioned and used tourist attraction. It was incredible to actually go aboard and in this submarine. There is a self -guided tour that uses an audio player and headphones to guide you around the submarine and explain what you are looking at. It is hard to imagine what it must have been like spending months at a time on a submarine like this. After touring the submarine, we walked around the other submarine exhibits on the property. As you can see by the pictures, there is a "conning tower" taken from another sub, periscopes, and torpedoes to look at. After lunch, we went through the submarine museum which covered everything from the invention of the submarine, right up to modern day subs.
We had planned to go to the beach for the rest of the afternoon, but with weather was overcast and we needed naps. The girls did spend a little bit of time in the hotel pool. After resting up (and cleaning up), we walked down the street to Chili's for supper. We know this violates Uncle Jay's rule of: never eat at any place that you can at home. However, we like Chili's and it sounded good to us.
The girls have been talking smack about a water balloon fight for a couple of weeks. So, we finally loaded them up. We only had a small round one early this afternoon (parents vs kids). But the girls are going to try and recruit some help from some of the neighbor kids later for the big finale. We'll let you know how it turns out.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
On the fourth day we were scheduled to take a two hour lunch cruise. On board the cruise ship there were all kinds of activities: hulu lessons, ukelele lessons, lei making, bamboo fish craft, and a buffet lunch. Before the cruise left at 11:30am, we had some time to walk around the Aloha Tower market place where the ship was docked. The girls fed the fish (and the birds) by the pier. The two hours went by pretty quick and it was time to "disembark".
After a short rest period, it was off to the beach for some more fun in the sun. After a long and tiring day, we decided to stay in for the evening and order pizza for supper. We needed a little down time to get caught up after being on the go for four days. Fortunately, the hotel room tv got the Disney channel.
Click here for the day four pictures.
Click here for the hula video.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Today is the Sea Life Park outing. (Click here for today's pictures.) The girls started the day off with breakfast on the hotel room balcony. We packed up and made the 30 minute drive to Sea Life Park. There were lots of neat things to see and do at the park, but the highlight of the day was "swimming with dolphins". McKinsey was old enough to go in by herself, but Kerstin needed an adult to go in with her. Kerstin's mom drew the short straw and got to stay out of the dolphin pool and take pictures. After about three safety briefings, we finally got to get in to the water. There were two other groups in the pool. Each group had its own dolphin to interact with. Ours was Nani (pronounced 'non-ee'). The trainer would have Nani swim back and forth in front of us so we could pet her back and stomach. We played fetch, gave the hand signals for jump and speak, and kissed and shook fins with her. We spent about 30 minutes in the water with Nani. (Here is a link to a video of Kerstin kissing and shaking fins with Nani.) After spending 5-6 hours at the park, we were all pretty worn out. We made the drive back to the hotel and took a nap.
After our nap we walked down to the Seaside Bar and Grill for supper. They served up some good food, and that explained why they had plenty of business there.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
After sleeping in, we strolled down to the boulevard that runs along in front of the beach. Our goal for the morning was to get acclimated to our surrounding (and find some breakfast). Not wanting to get too adventurous our first time out, we found a Burger King for breakfast. After breakfast (which was really brunch), we stopped by an ABC Store (which is a convenience/souvenir shop) for some supplies. (The ABC Stores are kind of an island joke because there is at least one of them on every block in the Waikiki Beach area.) We grabbed a map, got our bearings, fired up the rental car, and headed for the Dole Pineapple Plantation.
Today was one of our free days (a day that did not have any activities planned for us by the Make-A-Wish people.) Even though Hawaii is a US state, navigating is not that easy because every street name has several "k's", "a's", and "o's" in it. (Or so it seemed to us main-landers.) But we made it, and the Dole Plantation was a great way to fill the afternoon. We were amazed at how many people were there, and how many of them arrived in limo's. The giant maze was fun (and hot). There are six stands in the maze with templates in them. The objective is to find all the stands and mark the templates on your maze card. The fastest all six have been found is four minutes. We spent 15 minutes going in circles without finding anything except heat exhaustion. We finally gave up and got a map from the entrance booth. Even with the map it still took some effort to find the stands.
After the maze we cooled off with a "cool" treat: pineapple sherbert and a pineapple smoothie. Next we were off to ride the Pineapple Express. This was a little train the went through the plantation with audio narration. We were very interested to learn that pineapples take 18-24 months to grow, and they are grown on a plant close to the ground.
We still had a little time before supper so we decided to drive around the north side of the island on the way home. Looking at the map it was only about 40-50 miles to take this alternate route back to the hotel. Of course, the speed limit varied from 25 to 40 mph the whole way so it took a little longer than expected. That was ok though, because we were able to stop at Waimea Bay Beach Park along the way and the girls donned their swim suits and played in the sand/surf.
While searching for somewhere to eat supper, we stumbled on a little out of the way restaurant called the Island Shack. It was basically an old mettle storage shed with no doors and used mixed and matched restaurant furniture. The kitchen was an old utility van backed up the back door of the place. The restaurant was surrounded by tents and shacks. Every thing on the menu was either grilled, steamed, or boiled. The whole place had a hippie-ish feel to it. When we walked in the place Jeff recognized the music that was playing as Jack Johnson (currently of the Curious George movie soundtrack fame). He asked one of the employees about it, and it turns out that Jack Johnson is one of the neighbors. Pretty cool! The place looked a little shady at first, but the food was delicious and the people were great. It turns out that all the people that work there are surfers that follow the surf circuit, and work at the restaurant for room and board. Livin' the dream! Click here to enjoy the pictures.
It was dark by the time we got back to the hotel and we were wiped out. Time to get some sleep and get ready for Sea Life Park tomorrow.
Day 1 - July 11th
The limo picked us up at the house at 11:30am. The girls had their stuff packed and ready to go by 11:00am, so they sat on the front porch for about 30 minutes watching with great anticipation for the limo. During the hour ride to the airport in Omaha, the girls watched a DVD while Jeff and Annie went over the game plan for the next seven days.
Lori H and her two sons met us at the airport and gave us a nice send off. Both of our planes (Omaha to Phoenix and Phoenix to Honolulu) were both on time, and all of our luggage made to the island as well. It was 8pm local time in Honolulu when we arrived, which means it was 1am Lincoln time. We were met in the Honolulu airport by Bev our lei greeter. She helped us find our luggage and rental car. Hunger set in and we happened to find a McDonald's on the way to the hotel. By the time we ate and checked in to our hotel, it was about 3:30am Lincoln time. It didn't take long to fall asleep :)
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Kerstin and her family made it home yesterday. (And so did all their luggage.) Everyone is doing fine, but the "jet lag" hit a little harder than expected. The family didn't get up today until about 10:30am. We have been busy catching up on being gone for the last week, but we promise to post pictures as soon as possible.
Oh, and Kerstin finally got the pesky loose tooth out (bottom middle). Just hours before leaving Hawaii, she finally wiggled it enough so that her mom could pull it out with out much effort. So we had a visit from the Tooth Fairy last night. Apparently the going rate for the "first" tooth is four quarters and one Sacagawea dollar coin for a grand total of $2.00.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
We spent the day at Pearl Harbor and have lots of pictures of it. In this one the girls are standing in front of one of the anchors from the USS Arizona. (The other anchor is back in Phoenix.) In addition to visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, we also toured the USS Bowfin (submarine) exhibit and museum. (We will be posting lots of pictures in the near future.)
Kerstin's health continues to be good, which was a concern to us with all the stress that goes along with traveling. She seems to be full of energy at the end of the day, which is more than we can say for mom and dad.
Thanks again for checking in on Kerstin.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Kerstin went to Sea Life Park today where we got to see all kinds of fun stuff. The highlight was swimming with the dolphins. Kerstin, her sister, and her dad got spend 30 minutes in the water with "Nani" (a three year old female dolphin). They got to pet her, shake hands (fins), play fetch with a ball, and kiss her. It was definitely a special experience.
We started the day off with a little stroll around our hotel's neighborhood, then drove up to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. They have the world's largest maze there where you can go through and find six different stencils to put on a scorecard. We spent a lot of time wondering around there. After that, we enjoyed some great pineapple ice cream treats and took a ride on the Pineapple Express to see more of the plantation. From there we decided to take the drive around the north side of the island to get back to our hotel in Wikiki. We found a great little shack of a restaurant to eat at on the way. It was dark by the time we got back to the hotel and everyone was ready for bed.