Sunday, December 26, 2010

Year in Review

I've been reflecting on this year--it's probably the hardest one we have ever experienced, with Emery's cancer diagnosis and treatment, but also a great year that brought the birth of Beck, lots of fun with all the kids and grandkids, family and friends, travels, and new adventures, along with Emery's recovery and great progress. Here's a recent photo of our crew.
(L) Corey and Susan with Aidan and Ally in front of them
(C) Sarah and Miles holding Beck with Elle in front
(R) Bonnie, David and Emery
So here's my little flashback on 2010:

January: Our year did not start out in the happiest way. After learning of Emery's diagnosis of neuroblastoma, I left Unalaska in a hurry to meet Bonnie, David and Emery in Houston, where our sweet girl was to begin treatment at Texas Children's Hospital. Little did we know how long we would end up being there! Thankfully, she did really well, but January was pretty scary.
February: Still in Houston, in and out of the hospital, having chemotherapy and outpatient treatment. I was reunited with my friend Becky, whom I hadn't seen in over 30 years. She and her family lived just ten minutes from Texas Children's and were a huge help to us.

And we celebrated Elle's 2nd birthday with lots of family and friends. Cute girl!

March: Ally turned 3 years old! What a cutie!

And our big boy Aidan turned 7! Although I was not happy with the reasons for being in Texas, it was good to have some extra visits with my girls and guys and grandkids. :)

What a handsome little guy!

While back in Houston, Emery was getting bigger and sitting up! Doing much better and tolerating lots of medical stuff....not the most fun, but she was a trooper.

Hurray, last chemo treatment and Gigi prepared to go home to Alaska after 9 weeks. Emery did not go home till April, after surgery.

One last trip to Dallas before going home and my good friends Karen and Kelly drove in from Abilene for lunch. Now those are some friends!

Elle and Emery

April: We received big news that Sarah and Miles were expecting baby #2 in November or December! That's grandchild #5--how exciting!

Back home, I got talked into appearing as the Easter Bunny at our annual Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. Let me tell you, that costume was HOT! But it's amazing how goofy one is willing to behave when hidden inside. I had lots of fun dancing, doing the cake walk, strolling around saying "hi" to the kids, and posing for pictures. :)

Also in April, I joined my friends Char and Donna at the Healthy Native Communities Fellowship retreat in sunny San Diego. Loved the warm temps!

May: Rich and I cooked up some goodies for the "Just Desserts" concert
and joined "Team Emery" formed by friend and fellow blogger Steve to raise money for childhood cancer research through St. Baldrick's. Steve shaved his head in honor of Emery and brought in a bunch of money. Supporting him are his wife, known as "Goldfish" and friend Elaine.
June: Yippee! We got a housing upgrade and moved into a bigger duplex up on a hill. It was a hectic move with lots going on and seemed to drag out forever, but we love our new place!
I was pouting about moving on my birthday but my friends threw a little get-together for Andrea and me (our bdays are one day apart).

And off to another Healthy Native Communities retreat, this one in Shiprock, NM, where we tackled a ropes course. That balance beam was up high but I had a harness, so no biggie, right?
And since I was in New Mexico, I couldn't pass up a trip to Texas, could I? I had a bonus visit with some of my nieces and their families as well as my kids.

Corey and Ally

Susan and Aidan July: Then to Dallas to see Sarah, Miles and Elle

and Emery and Bonnie flew in to meet us

Shopping for baby boy clothes
After leaving Texas, I met up with Rich in Anchorage and we flew away to Honolulu for a week. Ahhh, sunshine, blue skies, calm water and lots to do!
August: Rich and some of his coworkers played in the annual Tundra Golf Classic, which is both difficult and hilarious.

Fresh salmonberries, which were quickly made into jam that we are still enjoying

September: There are always too many community activities to fit into our schedule. We hosted the Alaska premiere of a film called "Papers," about the struggles of undocumented youth.
October: Time to pick blueberries

Rich made blueberry jam to go along with the salmonberry. Dee-lish!
Stylin' in our new KUCB sweatshirt at our One Day Radio Pledge Drive--a ton of fun every year!

More travel in October as I attended the last Healthy Native Communities retreat in DC, where I had a great visit with my niece Kristinn, her hubby Tim and their cute kids Gabe and Sofia.

Donna, Char and I "graduated." Whew! It was an intense year of training and I am glad it's finished. It was not quite what I expected and not really my favorite thing, I have to admit.

Rich is quite the pumpkin carver and bested all previous efforts this year with his haunted house.

November: Back to Texas! Yes, we do travel a lot, don't we?! Baby Beck was due at the end of November and we went early in case he decided to come early. He didn't, so we took a trip to Abilene to see Susan, Corey and kids while we waited.

Grandpa Rich and Aidan had a big Lego project that they worked very hard to complete.

Susan and her precious kids
And a trip to Oklahoma City to see sister in law Nadine and some of her family.

Baby Beck finally made his appearance on November 23, also Emery's first birthday.

Sweet family of four
David, Bonnie and Emery--happy first birthday! What a year you've had!

What an adorable baby boy--welcome to the world, Beck!

December: We traveled back to Unalaska, returned to the work routine, and enjoyed quiet holidays at home. I'm not really sure what to say about 2010. Several of my friends have had a difficult time this year and we have commented more than once that we wished we could rewind and do it over with different results. I'm thankful that our family is doing well--we have a healthy new grandson and Emery has come through her treatment with flying colors. Aidan, Ally, Elle, Emery and Beck keep me smiling and warm my heart. At the same time, I know that people I care about still struggle with health issues or the loss of loved ones or jobs or are sometimes ovewhelmed with life's challenges. I know that we are not guaranteed an easy life or even a happy life but my wish for all of you is that 2011 will bring you peace and love to make the hard times a little less daunting. Happy New Year!


Suzassippi said...

Mississippi has slipped back into the time warp again--this was not here yesterday! I hope the new year brings more good things to the family and I'll be thinking about all of you as always.

Gigi said...

I started it awhile back but it took forever to get the photos uploaded. I finished it yesterday but I think it reverts to the "saved" date! Happy New Year!