Thursday, April 22, 2010

Exciting News!!!!!!!

We had a family dinner last night with Jeff & Caroline and kids and Jeremy and Renee. This was the inscription in one of my birthday cards!!

I am so glad to be able to spend time with you near your birthday. You will have to excuse me if I am more excited about a future birthday on 11/29 however. You see, we are expecting your 10th grandchild about then. See you for the holidays?

I love you

Rich cried, I cried and screeched. Number 10 in 2010! We are thrilled - and beyond BLESSED!!

The classic comment came from granddaughter, Lauren. You see, their family had given me a FABULOUS gift card for Coldwater Creek Spa. When the noise settled, Lauren said, "I thought we gave a great gift!" No competition!!! I've made my appointment for the spa and will be back in CA in the fall - definitely!

It will be hard to top this news today!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Allison!

Today is Allison's 8th birthday! She is the youngest of Jeff and Caroline's five children! Her middle name is Rae, and she's just that -- a ray of sunshine! She's the one who keeps that family laughing. Allie-Gal, as we sometimes call her, was born on my 60th birthday! What a precious gift!

Allison - 2 years - wearing the traditional Dewey family two year photo "sailor" outfit.

Grandma, aka Carolyn Jo, - 15 months. That's quite a mop of hair for a 15-month-old!

Celebrating Allie's 3rd birthday, and my, well you do the math! Three candles for her, six for my decades!

By now, you know that I love to make cookies with my grandchildren. When they came for a visit in 2008 this was high on the "what do we do now" list. They will come for a visit this summer, so I'm sure we'll have more baking fun!

Allie loves to play soccer. This year she was on the Pink Dynamite team - very cute! It was an especially good year for her as she scored several goals! In the Spring she runs track.

Giving the relay her all!

I love this photo of her wearing her Daddy's LA Kings hat and what I called her "Daisy Mae" shirt. Is that expression a look of cuteness, or what!

I couldn't tell you what this little gal was so pleased about but this photo makes me smile! It captures her very fun personality! We were at the Hillsboro Rodeo. You'd think she'd just roped a calf, or something. Gotta love it!

And talk about exuberance! She and Aunt Renee had a blast on the water slide in Palm Springs last summer! We're all about making fun family memories! Kudos to Jeff for capturing the moment!

Allison is four months older than her cousin, Audrey. It's a shame they live so far apart because they have so much fun together. It sometimes seems as though they are glued to the hip.

Like at Christmas when they had fun playing their DS computer games. Lots of giggles.

When I visited California in March, one of my highlights was taking Katelyn and Allison shopping for their birthday gifts. Since their birthdays are just a month apart, we combined them into one fun shopping trip. This is a tradition I started when Cole was just a little guy. Target is our place of choice until they get to be tweens, then I have to "up my game". Lunch and/or a snack is always part of the routine. Wendy's was a tradition for the Moorpark Dewey kids - have to get those yummy frostees! We had such a fun afternoon! The sad thing for me was that neither Katelyn or Allison remembered doing this when they were little. We moved in 2006 so they were just six and four for their last birthday shopping trips with Grandma. Since then it's been gift cards in the mail.

More than being sisters, Kate and Allie are such good friends. I love that!

Allison and I are looking forward to celebrating our birthdays together this year. It won't be on the actual day, as we had hoped, but a few days later will be just as special.

Allison, Papa and I love you very much. Always keep Jesus in your heart! Happy birthday, sweetie - my special birthday gift!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ahhhh, SPRING!

After a very
this is some of what is blooming in our yard!

Prairie Fire Crabapple Tree

Mohawk Viburnum

If only you could smell its sweet fragrance!

Dahlias, Sweet Alyssum and Herbs

In yellow, coral, yellow/coral mix, pink, white color blocks in our deck pots along with basil, flat-leaf and curly parsley.

We are loving this time of year!

"God saw all that He had made, and it was very good."

Genesis 1:31a

I guess that is true of the winter too!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rich's Radioactive Iodine Treatment

Rich was admitted to our local hospital this past Wednesday for the radioactive iodine treatment that is to kill off any remaining thyroid cancer cells. He was to be in the hospital 24-48 hours, however his body has been slow in releasing the iodine so he was not released until late yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Was he ever happy to "be sprung" from there!

This was quite a process and required the hospital to make lots of special arrangements. He was placed in a room as far away from as many patients as possible. The door was always shut and he couldn't leave, so he was captive! In the room there was this heavy blue paper taped over all the floor, the bed, chair, counter top and I don't know what in the bathroom. Other items in the room were covered in plastic. Anything used in the room had to be destroyed, so there were three big trash cans for linens, fluids, and trash. The paperback and puzzle books he took in had to be trashed. So you can imagine how H.A.P.P.Y. he was to get out of there!

There are precautions we have to take all this week while his body continues to "flush" the iodine, like sleeping in separate rooms, using separate bathrooms, he eats out of disposal dishes, showers 2-3X/day with a new towel each time, his laundry is done separately and he's homebound this week. We are also keeping our little granddaughters away, just for their safety. Brett came over last evening for a wonderful chat but he was to remain 6' away from Rich.

Next Friday Rich will have a full body scan to check the results. Pray he is cancer free!

We went up to KU last week for Rich's three-month checkups with ENT and kidney surgeons. He had lab work, ultrasound of abdomen and x-ray and all were good. Docs were pleased and he doesn't need to go back for six months! Man-a-live, was that good news! It wasn't an easy trip as Rich came down with food poisoning very early Friday morning. He was so sick from 2-10 am, but was able to leave at 10:15 for the Friday appointments. I drove home in 2 hours 45 minutes and that was with a stop for gas! We were beat and just wanted to be home! Rich said only I could get home that fast!

What a year this has been!!! April 28 will mark the anniversary of this journey. We've certainly learned more about health and the body than we ever expected! We've learned lots about patience! And even more about HOPE and FAITH in our God. We've learned how much it means to be cared for and prayed for and just how precious LIFE is and just how precious are our PRAYING family and friends.

In my first blog on May 6, 2009, I ended with my favorite scripture, Proverbs 3:5-6, "TRUST in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your pathway straight." We know for sure that the Lord WILL straighten the crooked and bumpy paths!

Praise be to Him!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Very HOPE - FULL Easter!

This past week, beginning on Palm Sunday, I have had such a longing for a really special Holy Week.

I did a lot of reminiscing about my years in the choir at our church, Calvary Community, in Westlake Village, CA, remembering all the long, exhausting hours of rehearsal, working out choreography steps, experiencing the exhiliration of singing before a few thousand people over several church services, while managing life, a job, and family. We always did a fabulous music and drama production on Palm Sunday. For our church it began Passion Week. We followed that with a silent Good Friday communion service and a truly celebratory Easter service. During the week, I always read the various accounts as told in the Gospels of this week in Jerusalem. This year I have really struggled. I didn't get my Bible reading in until Saturday. Palm Sunday was "just another Sunday", and I wanted so much more for Easter. Rich was on schedule to play the piano at church but due to his continuing lack of energy he determined he really wasn't up for the rigors of rehearsal and the three services. I suggested that we go to Brett's church, Hope Mennonite, in Wichita. I thought it would be really special to celebrate with him and Esther at this, their first Easter as Pastor.

Wow! What a marvelous service it was!

The service began where they left off on Maundy Thursday, celebrating the Last Supper and marking Christ's crucifixion. The service began as a "Gathering in the darkness". The lights in the sanctuary were dimmed, except for the light on the cross, which was draped in a white cloth. As the congregants entered they were reverant. No talking or walking about! It marked the solemnity of the events. Amazing! We were immediately "taken in". The piano played a prelude, an African drum beat like a heartbeat broke the silence, scripture was read from Matthew 27: 57-61, and then from the back of the sanctuary came this luxurious baritone voice which led the congregation in four verses of the spiritual, "Were You There?" Each verse built upon the other, with voices in harmony increasing on each verse. Another scripture reading from Matthew 28:1-10 and then the final verse of of "Were you There?", "Were you there when he rose up from the grave?" It was glorious! This is a church that loves to sing and to sing well. Mind you, this singing was all a capella - no instruments. More music, another spiritual by the choir, "Ain't no Grave Can Hold my Body Down", responsive readings, traditional Easter hymns, a children's teaching, more scripture reading, and then Brett's message, "With Fear and Great Joy". To say our hearts were over-flowing is quite an understatement. God's Word was preached without apology yet with love and passion. The last song was, "You Shall Go Out With Joy", a song which we sang years ago at Calvary, and what a joy it was to sing it again! The service ended with a "Celebrating the Feast", with banquet tables at the front of the church laden with tiers and platters of fruit and Easter breads and floral arrangements. The "Hopeful Blues", a quintet of Hope musicians played "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" and other marvelous songs. What a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It was lovely to see people we've met on other occasions and to meet other members of the congregation. Everyone we met was so affiriming of God's call on Brett to be their Pastor. There's such a depth and excitement among the people. We were BLESSED!

My longing for "something more" was met in ways I couldn't imagine!

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

We came home and Rich napped all afternoon, while I prepared our Easter dinner for Brett, Esther, and girls. Rich has been on a low iodine diet since the middle of March, which basically means no milk, diary, eggs, commerical baked goods (so I am making bread!), no prepared foods, iodized or sea salt, fish, salted nuts, and more I've been asked what I prepared for our Easter Celebration. It was: herb crusted pork loin tenderloin, a hot potato salad, a corn salad, a bowl of cut veggies, with applesauce cake and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. It was a hit. I'll share a couple of recipes. Sorry no photos, I was just concentraing on getting dinner on the table for a hungry family! :)

Chocolate Applesauce Cake
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg white
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups applesauce
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
4 tablesppons cocoa
Mix above together in a large bowl.
In a small bowl mix:
2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then fold in 1 cup of finely diced apple.

Pour into tube pan sprayed with non-stick spray and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until pick is clean.
Cool 15 minutes in pan and then turn out on cooling rack. Make a simple powder sugar glaze for top. This is a very moist cake. I baked it in a Bundt cake and the girls called it a "donut cake". It looked just like a very huge chocolate buttermilk donut we used to get at Judy's Donuts in Newbury Park. I didn't tell them what kind of a cake it was but Isabel "nailed it". With her first bite she said, "this tastes like apple pie!" Pretty discrimating palate for a 5 year old.

Corn Salad
16 ounces frozen white corn - thawed (I couldn't find white, so used the yellow/white corn mix)
1 whole roasted red pepper (I used one from a jar, rinsed it off really well to get rid of salt for Rich)
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 cup diced red onion
2 stalks diced celery
1/2 cup sugar (I think I'll cut this to 1/4 cup, maybe 1/3)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vinegar (I used half white wine, half of red win vinegar)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine corn, peppers, onion and celery in a large bowl. Combine sugar, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Pour over vegetables. Toss all together and chill for at leat 2 hours before serving. Serves 6.
These recipes came from the ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer Cookbook at A great resource!

Now we are truly enjoying this beautiful Spring!