About Me

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Bakersfield, CA, United States
Hans was a busy, happy, sweet and fearless three year old when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He fought his disease like a "gladiator" for nearly 6 years. Hans was an animal lover to his core. He was 'guarded' at home by his three cats, Black, Orange and Cotton. He also had his Golden Retriever, Honey, to keep him company. Hans enjoyed swimming, biking, gardening, grilling (he had his very own grill!), horseback riding, playing video games, building Legos, and flipping between Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Animal Planet. Hans loved all members of his family and he was a loyal friend. He had to go through a lot of treatment in his life. But Hans powered through it. His attitude was let's get this done! His motivation was always to get back home, to his family, pets, favorite foods and pool.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yesterday, Cheers to Lara! (the birthday girl)

All of the girls took Lara out for her birthday to Hubbell & Hudson Bistro. We had a lot of fun spoiling her with many laughs. We love you Lara! Happy Birthday to You! Carmen, Brenda, Vickie, Michele, Marlene, Dana and Ginger

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Week Report

Hello to Hans Fans!

I have some very good news. Hans has had 4 great days out of 5. His one rough day even ended up working out okay. If you have seen me this week, I'm sure I look like I'm on cloud nine. I'm just so proud of my big boy for going off to school, and, needless to say, I'm proud of my big beautiful girl too. She's off to a great start in her new school. So far, she says Band is her favorite class, and I'm not even sure if they've let her blow into her Clarinet yet.

In order to ease Hans into the school routine, I have been picking him up after lunch. I think he adores his half day schedule, and I think it's a good way into this next phase of life. The next 13 or 17, or more years anyway...school years!
Hans wrapped up Round 9 of his ABT751 yesterday. It was amazing - somehow it didn't seem to affect his mood or sleep much. Yay! I was literally blown away that he was able to start school so well this week. His rough day was Thursday, when he just didn't want to go. I am hoping that as he has more good days under his belt, the rough days will be fewer and farther between.

Soccer started this week, so I'm having to get the hang of having three weeknights dedicated to training. Luckily, Elle should still be able to fit in Girl Scouts and join the Science Club at her school. We are even hoping she can squeeze in volleyball during her winter soccer break.

The next CNCF fundraiser bake sale is two weeks from today. Shoot me an email kevinandlara@hotmail.com if you'd like to bake or come volunteer down at TCH on 9/11/09. This is the Back to School Bake Sale. There are far too many kids who aren't enjoying the whole back to school routine this fall. They are either gone, or they are too sick to be at school. Let's do what we can to raise some more research money and get more of these kids Back to School!

Thanks, as always, for checking up on us. And, thanks for your 'super cool school' thoughts and prayers for Hans. I think they are working; keep 'em comin'!

Love, Lara

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pinch me...

Hans and Zach, sporting their backpacks on the first day of Kinder and 3rd Grade, Aug 24, 2009

Elle, first day of Fifth Grade, Aug 24, 2009

I'm feeling a little like Macaulay Culkin...I'm Home Alone! Hans is proudly sitting in his Kinder classroom, and Elle is in with her new "Learning Community/LC" at Wilkerson Intermediate. I'm listening to the morning news and drinking coffee!

Hans' first day success is largely due to Elle, and our neighbor Zach. For some reason, Hans is choosing not to respond to most of my enthusiastic pronouncements that Kindergarten is going to be so cool. I finally realized I needed to recruit help from the next generation. Kevin was already out the door to work early this morning for a staff meeting, so, Elle got Hans cheerfully dressed, I tried to feed him a hearty breakfast. Then, Zach, our 8 year old neighbor from across the street, volunteered his morning to be Hans' special buddy. He ensured Hans took all his meds, brushed his teeth and they were out the door. Getting all of these steps done with Hans by 7:40 am has been freaking me out all summer! Zach rolled in as the little miracle we needed. How sweet. Zach told me he figured he would make himself available for at least the next few weeks. The boys told silly fart jokes all the way to school, which I joyfully ignored, and Zach and Elle marched Hans right into his classroom. I hung back in the hall, lest Hans get one look at me and think better of it all.

So, school, Day One, is going okay, so far, so good! Thank Goodness, and thank you for sending Hans all the cool school vibes. Keep 'em coming for a few weeks. I am hoping this is not all too good to be true!!!

Oh, on the soccer front, we made it through our first tournament. The girls didn't chalk up a win, but they look like a great group, and I think all they need is a chance to work together for a few weeks and things will come together for them. We had a teammate break her arm, and the little trooper came back out to the field to cheer the rest of us on for game two. At least our losses allowed us to head home early Sunday. We were able to do some lunch shopping, and I had time to cook a real meal:)

Love, Lara

I am thinking so much about all the "angel" moms I know. These big milestone days have got to be tough to face with our their gorgeous little one to dote over. I'm sending my love...Vickie, Charon, Theresa, Joyce, Michele, Leigh Ann, Leah, Paige, Kerri, Bernie, Becky, Shelly, and all of you who have lost a child and might be having tough moments today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Last weekend of summer!

Elle and I are off to a weekend in Katy of soccer tournaments. Elle is participating in her first official tournament. It is still very hot here! She'll play in three or four games. Two on Saturday, and one or two on Sunday. At least it's close enough for us to come home at night, just too far (about an hour each way) to come home between games. Since it's too hot for Hans to come along, he and Kevin are hanging out at home and getting some things done.

We got some scary news about Hans' beloved Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Nusbaum. She had an emergency c-section to deliver beautiful baby girl Mia Rose at 25 weeks gestational. Little Mia is about 10 days old and hanging in there! We are keeping this little fighter in our thoughts and prayers. I don't know much at all about 'preemies', but I understand this little girl is hitting all the important early markers of success.

I have been pumping Hans up about Kindergarten and Mrs. Nusbaum for a long time. Hans is resistant to change, (especially while ON meds) and going off to Kinder is going to be a HUGE leap for him. It is going to be a little miracle if the adjustment is relatively smooth and effortless. I think he is very apprehensive about it! He was successfully involved in pre K in a 2's classroom, and was off to a great start with a 3's classroom, and then he got sick. Of course, I was able to teach in an adjacent classroom both of those years. It was a great set up. But, now, for three years he has been either getting treatment or home with Mama. I want to ask everyone that they think super cool school thoughts for Hans on Monday. I hope I can get him out the door! He just started Round 9 of ABT 751 yesterday, and it'll be peaking in his little system on Monday and to say the least...I'm pretty nervous about how things will go!

That's our update for now. Other than that, Hans seems to be doing okay. He has complained of headaches a couple of times this week. It's strange for him, and it certainly makes up raise our eyebrows a little bit, and keep an eye on him...


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Echo Normal!

Just got the great news that Hans' Echocardiogram was (gloriously) normal!! Thank God. It looks as if it must have been just a bad test back in June! So, Hooray. Thanks for the love and prayers.

I am hoping everything continues to go this well, and keep getting better for at least 79 1/2 years! We have so many friends going through scans these days and treatment change-ups. Wishing them all the best these days!

Love, Lara

Monday, August 17, 2009


Hey there,
So, with Hans' relative well-ness, I am turning into a "major blogger slacker". I guess though, I'll take this glorious health and just run with it!
Since my last post - We got Elle back (Thursday at about midnight!)
We have done some redecorating to Elle's room - it's more of a tween theme with black and white polka dots/hot pink too, hit a bday pool party - happy b'day Morgan!, and were the unexpected and fortunate recipients of some neat pieces of furniture - thanks to Carmen's parent's neighbors Kuyk and Diane for the table, hutch and possible desk! Wow.

We are on our way down to clinic for an Endocrinology appt today, and tomorrow, it is back again for counts and another echo. I wanted to post a quick note with hopes that everyone would keep Hans in their thoughts and prayers for great heart function on that echo tomorrow, so we can go full speed ahead into Round 9 of ABT 751, due to start Friday.

Thanks, I'll post more Wednesday, promise!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back in TX

Some pics below, a window into why we still get homesick after living out-of-state 9 years now...

Hans making jam with my grandpa (Papa)

Hans (and a little of me) on the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry

Elle on the Twilight tour in front of the Bella Italia Restaurant, Port Angeles, WA

Hans and Elle hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest with Grandma Stephanie

Elle and Hans in the Hoh

Volunteer Beaders Beading in Ellensburg! Thank you beaders!

Hans on Zippy with G'ma Kathy and Elle

We're back. Well, two out of three of us anyway. Elle seems to be the lucky little traveler! She was getting so sad at the prospect of leaving WA, that I actually called Continental to try to push her ticket back a few days. It was definitely cost-prohibitive to make the change at the last minute, so I didn't do it. She was disappointed, but she rolled with it. But then, when we got to the gate, they were looking for passengers to give up their seats! We went ahead and pushed her flight back to Thursday night. So, she gets to spend a few more days in Seattle with Grandma Stephanie for free:)!

Hans had a great flight and is happy to be home with Honey and his daddy, and all of his Transformers! I have a lot to do around here, just getting unpacked, grocery shopping, and figuring out Hans' schedule. We are trying to figure out when he needs to go back in for his echo and for counts. I'll keep you posted.

We shared the row on our trip back up with a grandmother and 1 year old Kaya. Kaya was going back to Alabama with Grandma as both of her parents are being deployed for this next year. Can you imagine? I am well aware of what struggles pedi cancer families go through, but then every once in a while I am reminded that we are not alone in our difficult journeys.

Thanks to everyone that welcomed us, hosted us and visited with us while we were in WA. We feel incredibly fortunate that we have been able to enjoy a truly relatively normal and action-packed summer. Thanks for checking up on us. Lots of love as our summers all begin to wind down.


Friday, August 07, 2009

Still Out Here!

Hi Everyone,
I am sorry to be so long b/w posts... I have been on a techno break, as my mom doesn't have internet access over the summer (teacher tech break). In some ways we are going back in time about 15 years, no internet, no Wii, no Nickelodeon. But it's all good - we are all finding tons of other things to do. For the most part we have been kind of power-visiting with our friends and family back in the Seattle area and then east of the mountains as well.

In addition to visiting, since Elle is a big fan of the Twilight series, we took a Twilighters tour of the Olympic Peninsula seeing Forks and Port Angeles. These little towns were catering to teen tourists and MANY small tshirt and gear shops had popped up all over the towns. It was crazy, but fun to see. We also squeezed in a 1.5mile hike with Hans, my mom, me and Elle through the Hoh Rain Forest while we were out there.

Hans has just completed Round 8 of his ABT 751! He was able to take it pretty much in stride even though we are on the road. It has just been a little crazy tracking down his food requests (aka demands?!?) on the road. But we are getting it done. Hans got a counts check up at Seattle Children's Hospital last week, and all was well. I admire his flexibility with his appointments. He just dropped into Children's and let them access his port like it was no big thing.

We have arrived just in time to welcome many many cousins into the world. We've already hit 2 baby showers while out here and said hello to even more newborns! I think something is in the water. On my side Colleen and Critter (Christopher) welcomed Claire, Peter and Patricia welcomed Savannah, and Matt and Tia now have Gibson and Maggie...Hillary is still expecting, so is my cousin Coleen! On Kevin's side his sister Anna and Matt are expecting in October (Hailey), and his step brother Chris and Kyle soon to adopt their first! It's CRAZY! I think our kids' cousin population is doubling. We also met an honorary cousin from CA, Desmond, our friends Megan and Phil's one year old, as our visits to Seattle overlapped and we were able to spend Wednesday together at the zoo.

Did I tell you Elle golfed a 50 (on 9 holes) at golf camp? (She tees off from the 100yard line!) I guess it's not bad for a ten year old.

And, Kevin and Honey have been holding down the fort at home. We had hoped he could come up this week, but he wound up having the culmination of a huge project at work. The good news is that his great intern, Travis, has been offered a job and will now join Kevin at work. He's a good one, and Kevin has enjoyed showing him the ropes of the industry. We just wish it would have worked out for him to come up and hang out!

Oh, and last night we had a tres successful lanyard workshop in Ellensburg! Kathy had invited a bunch of girlfriends, and I invited some friends in town... and we wound up with 27 beaders and wound up with 40 lanyards and some good fun!

Next I owe you pics... we return home Monday, and then have two weeks before Kindergarten. We got scan dates of Sept 29 and 30 for Philadelphia.

Thanks for checking up on us!