Saturday, August 30, 2008

Can You Guess The Song?

K really likes to sing...she wanders around the house singing all kinds of songs. Occaionally I will pick up on enough words to figure out what she is singing but some of the time I really have no idea. Today there were enough words and enough tune to figure it here you go!
Do you like how she opens with a big "C-H-E-E-S-E?" Ahhh..I have trained her well.

Zeke Helps Kaelyn Sing

Zeke decided to help Kaelyn finish...except he got distracted with the part about being strong...then we moved on to talk about his muscles and how big his arms are.

Kae's Appointment

Ok, so I am going to win "The Bad Mother of the Year Award." Kaelyn is almost 19 months old and I just took her in for her well visit at the doctor. She hasn't been in to see Dr. Schaffer since she was 12 months, which means she missed both the 15 month check up and the 18 month check up. Oh, well..I guess she survived without them. The sad part is I didn't even all. The kids started school this week and I called the doctor's office about filling out a release form for Kaelyn and the nurse told me, "well, we'll sign it but she hasn't been in for all her shots so the school may not let her start." Oh yeah...a well visit...I remember those! Hmmmmmm...can we say I have been distracted!

So, we went in today...on a Saturday....we were there a very long time. We came out with 5 shots, a sugar-free sucker, and a note that said she is 33 inches tall and 21 pounds (the same weight her brother was a 6 months mind you.) Yeah! We finally made it to 21 now we know she is tall, but super-skinny.

This is a picture of K and the Doctor Bear we found in Schaffer's office. She really liked him so we had a rather lengthy discussion with Mr. Bear while we waited in the office. As long as we were there, I would say that we have a strong relationship now.

Funny Brad Story

We were sitting on the back porch yesterday, enjoying a calm afternoon, having a conversation with my parents...discussing hurricanes I am sure. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Brad slaps at his leg and says loudly, "there you go you have chondrosarcoma! how do you like that!" He really is a strange man.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Day of School

I had my camera out and ready as soon as we hit the parking lot this morning. Zeke said, "Oh look Mom..this is the place that we took a picture of me going to school when I was three." And he was right. I had him stand right by the fence to take a picture last year before he went into school. So here we are again..this time with baby sister.

The three of us....look, even though both my babies are off to school...I'm not crying!

K with teachers Ms. Michelle & Ms. Melissa

Z with Ms. Cookie

Both kids did great at school for their first day...I was so glad.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Here we are showing off our new potty-posing skills. We don't know how to use it...but we can certainly look cute trying!

This is K wearing Zeke's doggie towel. Kaelyn put it on, took one look at herself and started to howl at the mirror.

This is a picture from this morning...straight out of bed. Of course, after we change her diaper we have to immediately put on clothes (at least the bottoms) today she selected her ballet tutu. I think the bottle makes a nice accessory to the ballerina ensemble.

Kids' Prayers

The Hanna's came over this evening to hang out and to eat dinner with us. Brad cooked us some delicious turkey and spinach burgers...YUM! The kids sat down at their own little table & decided that they would have their own prayer at their own table...they were so cute, I had to film them of course!

Zeke's Ear

On Monday, Zeke came to me complaining about ear pain. Because the child has only had a few ear infections in his lifetime and had never complained of pain when he had them, I was definately concerned. I took him to the clinic in Baytown, we waited for 2 and a half hours. By the time the doctor came into the room, Zeke was howling in pain. I felt really sorry for him. The doctor took one look in his ear and said he had both an inner and outer ear infection. He gave us an oral antiobiotic and an ear drop antibiotic, then sent us home. Just before we left, the doctor told Zeke he couldn't swim for TWO WEEKS! That really hit home for Zeke...everyone knows how much time we spend in the pool.

On a funnier note, Zeke woke up on Tuesday morning and came into my bedroom. He said, "Momma, I have good news and bad news." I said, "ok, what is that." He said, "The good news is my ear is kinda feelin' better but the bad news is I can't hear anything." I laughed a lot at that...the delivery was just so funny.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday's Meet The Teacher

I took K & Zeke to school on Tuesday to meet their teachers and to see their classrooms for the first time. It's so funny to see K walking into the same classroom that Zeke did when he was 18 months old. That seems like such a long time ago.

Zeke has been really Mommy-clingy since we returned, so he stayed close to my side as we entered the building. Kaelyn came bounding out of the car and ran giggling all the way into her classroom. As soon as she hit the front door of the building, she had both arms extended in a way, saying "Hi, hi, hi, hi" (as if to say...I'm here...the party has arrived!) She acted like she had always come to school and knew that she loved it. She was hysterical. On the way out she had to make a statement by blowing kisses to all the teachers standing in their doorways. She really is too much.

On the way out we had to make a stop at the playground...just to make sure the kids felt comfortable there too. We really needed to practice all of the activities that school has to offer. Here are some pics from the playground.

Beach Trip

Last Friday Brad & I took the kids to Galveston for a day of fun in the ocean. We met up with Valerie, Ty, Reagan, Lisa, Cal, & Jack. The days prior had been rain, rain, and more rain, so we jumped at the chance to do something outside with a little sunshine. We were so fortunate to have clear skies and temperatures of mid-80' was wonderful.

This is a movie of K's first steps in the water. She really thought the waves were fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Bathroom Humor

Ok, I promise I wasn't trying to work on potty training today, but here I am with more stories. This morning I got up & took K into the bathroom to change her diaper. Because she hadn't eaten breakfast yet, I decided to leave her in her diaper only for a few minutes JUST while she ate. I certainly didn't want her smearing yogurt all over her white Sunday outfit before we left. I put K in her highchair in the next room with her food and continued to make breakfast for Z, Brad & myself.

After a couple of minutes I hear her proclaim proudly, "pee pee!" and then I think to myself, "surely she didn't take her diaper off while she was in the highchair!" I walked into the other room to see her successfully holding her diaper up with one arm as the pee ran down the chair and down her legs, onto the floor. Oh yes, now we have confirmed that she is perfectly capable of removing the diaper while seated in the highchair.

I pulled off the tray, put her on the floor and carried the tray into the kitchen where I grabbed some towels to clean up the mess. As I was searching for some lysol I hear her say, "poo poo!" and I think to myself "you have GOT to be kidding me!!" (I mean, does a child go this much...this fast!) I walk into the next room to find her bent over her masterpiece that she has created on my tile floor. With poop under her nails...(I know...ewwww!), I carried her into the bathroom for another bath before church.

Once we reached the bathroom, I stuck her in the tub to clean her up. The whole time she is bathing, she keeps pointing over to the commode to say, "Potty!" (like it was her long-lost friend). She pointed and cried for it until I picked her up and set her on it. She gave me another very excited grin, all the while I'm's a little late for this now Kaelyn." She sits for about 3 seconds, grabs one square of tissue, brushes it across her backside, jumps off, and flushes the commode. "-inshed!" she proclaims. I just keep thinking, she is REALLY confused about the whole purpose behind this bathroom fixture. She acts like its a ride at Disneyworld. Oh well, maybe if she keeps watching her brother...maybe she will eventually get the idea.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I LOVE Potty-Training!

I don't know about the other parents in the world...but my favorite part of being a mommy is the potty training part! I just love it! There is no greater joy! Ok, just kidding. I thought if I kept telling myself this....then I would start to believe it...and don't even begin to get me started on the joys of potty training in public. What a mess.

Over the past six weeks or so Kaelyn has been showing all the signs of being ready to be trained. After she pees in her diaper, she frequently proclaims, rather loudly, "Pee pee!" and then proceeds to take her diaper off. I almost always have to leave her with pants on over her diaper or every time I turn around she has stripped the diaper and is flashing her goods.

I usually wouldn't even consider training a child at 18 months, but she really seemed to be ready. So, yesterday I decided to buy her training panties and training covers and thought whenever I got brave enough...I would give it our first attempt.

So, this afternoon we tried it out. I put her on the potty first, nothing. She was in the first pair of panties 4 minutes before she said "pee pee" and yes, she was right....she had. So, we went into the bathroom...I put her on the potty, she looked at me with a big grin (like, look...I think I'm really getting this!), then she reached for the toilet paper, promptly pulled off one square, wiped her outer thigh with it and dropped it in the bowl. She said, "-inished!" then jumped off the seat and went to flush it. See...pretty impressive right....she really has this process figured out. Yeah...just missing one really critical step.

The second pair of panties was sacrificed to a very messy BM 10 minutes later. (I love potty training, I love potty training, I love it.) After a bath, a change of clothes and new pair of panties...we are off to try again. So far we are only 15 minutes into this process and I am already completely exhausted.

I sat down about 20 minutes later to talk with Uncle Matt on the phone and I turned around. Kaelyn had taken off her panties and she was sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor splashing her hand in a puddle. Yes, it is what you think.

So, this was the end of our first attempt at potty training. As if I needed one more thing to add to my plate this week...I don't know what I was thinking. We will try this again later...definately later...much later....maybe when she is five!

Monday, August 18, 2008

We're Back

We just wanted to let everyone know that we made it back safely this afternoon. The flight went well...long, but it was a nice flight. The kids were excited to see us and boy, we were ready to see them. It is 7pm here, 2am German time so I am headed to bed...I am pooped!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Last Day In MB

The weather here today is drizzley, wet and cold. Not the best for packing up the house and loading the car, but at least it is not pouring!

Brad is doing his hypothermia treatment right now and as soon as he is finished we are going to the Gasthaus for lunch, then on to the house to finish loading up the car.

No fever today...Brad took 2 injections of Coley's but he never got over 37 Celcius. We decided today that he wouldn't take any more injections after 12:00...I know that he is ready to go and would not welcome the idea of getting fever late into the afternoon. Once we are is on to Isolde's for the weekend.

I have to share a funny story. Brad has been receiving a new daily injection that is supposed to help with inflamation. After receiving the injection 2 times over the last two days he was complaiming about how much the injection 'burns' while being given and long after the needle comes out. Dr. Thaller was giving Brad a hard time about being a coward and continued with a lecture about how 'healing is hard work.' Just a few moments ago Christine was giving me instructions on how to continue some of the treatments at home. Then she rememebered to tell me a change that they were making for the new injection. She said that after Brad's complaints, they gave another patient some of the same medication and she complained about how much it hurt. Finally Dr. Thaller said, give it to me in the stomach so that I can see what they are complaining about. Christine stuck in the injection and she said he yelled out, 'ow, that really burns!' Of course Brad reveled in that story..loving every minute! I am always impressed about how Dr. Thaller is so willing to try everything on himself that he is doing with his patients. Just before he came, he had given himself a difficult round of fever therapy (over 104) and said 'it was tough work!' He really is an amazing doctor!

We will let everyone know when we make it home to Houston! Thanks again for the prayers!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another L-O-N-G Day At Praxis Thaller Klinik

It is 3pm & we are still here at the clinic waiting for Brad's fever to go down to 38 C or lower so that we can head home. We have been here for 8 hours now, so Brad is jumpin' to leave at the first sign that is possible. It was after noon again today before his fever raised. It took 2 larger injections, but he did get a good fever in the end..103 degrees. We have been here so long today that, excluding the staff, we are the only ones left in the clinic. Even his buddy Micah has left for the day. Brad keeps looking around with longing eyes that say, 'why does everyone else get to go home but me?' No, seriously, he is fine, but ready to go.

We were blessed with a wonderful phone call from Nonnie & Gwanddad this afternoon. Nonnie put both Zeke & Kaelyn on the phone to talk with their daddy. It couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Brad was feeling really crummy, but it's hard to stay down when your baby daughter tells you, 'I Uv U Daaaady.' What a sweetie! The conversation made his day.

Georgia, our Greek friend that I have spoken of previously, goes in to town tomorrow to have an MRI done on her brain. I would like to request prayers for her family. They are praying that the scan shows considerable reduction in the tumor size. She and her family have been here at the clinic every day it has been open since the middle of June. They are such a sweet family and I do hope they get encouraging results.

I approached Georgia's sister, Kiki on Tuesday to ask if she spoke any English and found that she does! That was such a wonderful surprise. I find it unbelievable that their family has been here at the clinic almost the entire time we have been here and we are just now finding out that they speak English. Kiki's two-year-old son, Adonis is also at the clinic most of the time. He & I have spent some time doing a little coloring & playing hide-n-seek. I talk to him in English & he talks back to me in Greek, however, we have found common ground in making crashing sounds. He falls to the ground and I make a loud crashing mouth noise...he loves it. He is really a beautiful child.

Thank you for your prayers, emails, notes and encouragement! We love you all (& we'll be home soon...YIPPEE!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As suspected, Brad did get a fever very late yesterday evening. He ran fever through most of the night, needless to say...he didn't sleep very well. When we got to the clinic this morning, we both fell back asleep almost immediately...Brad in his bed and me in the bed right next to him.

Arriving extra early this morning (7:20am), we thought we would be able to leave early this afternoon. However, events didn't pan out like we had hoped...Brad had difficulty getting a fever again today. I know that the staff are working very carefully with him...trying their best to avoid any more breathing episodes like last week. Because of that, I know they are trying to ease him into the fever. I believe that is the main reason he is sometimes having trouble getting the fever there in the clinic. By this afternoon...after 3 injections, he told Micha that he was done for the day...we would try again tomorrow.

After the clinic Brad & I decided to go into Truchtlingen to the Wellness Center for some time in the Thermalbed (a heated pool with massage air jets). That was really nice. The center also featured a wave pool, water slides, a large outdoor pool and sauna. We kept thinking how much we would love to have Zeke with was definately his kind of place.

We came into Weissenburg for dinner and to visit the internet cafe here. We have been so blessed this trip to have lots of access to Dr. Thaller's computer, so this is actually our first visit to the internet cafe. I haven't missed the smoke.

Next on the agenda is to go back to the Pappenfuss house and start to pack up. Tomorrow night is our last night in Markt Berolzheim and we plan to pack up the car so we can head out to Munich as soon as we are done in the clinic on Friday. So, we'll have to spend a little time getting organized. I must say that packing for the 2 of us looks a lot different than the big group we had last time.

Hopefully I will get the opportunity to post 2 more times...tomorrow afternoon & Friday morning...after that, we will begin our journey home (hooray!) and I don't think I will have access again until I hit Houston on Monday afternoon. We love you all & miss you lots!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday's Treatment

Today was a longer experience at the clinic. Although we arrived super-early, it took Brad a very long time to get a fever...almost 5 hours. Everyone was determined today to make it happen so after 3 injections of Coley's, his temperature eventually raised to 39 degrees. I expect that Brad will have another evening fever tonight. He left looking very tired and flushed..that often seems to be the sign of another fever round in the evening.

We were speaking briefly this morning about needing to find a massage therapist in the area. Micha very kindly offered his services so Brad & I both received massages this afternoon while we were here in the was WONDERFUL!! I believe Micha may be the only man Brad would ever allow to 'rub' him. He is such a wonderful nurse to Brad...I continue to be amazed at the attentiveness and kindness of the staff. They are so quick to meet every need. Now that we have come to know each of them personally, we really work hard to extend our communication...more attempts from them to speak English and more pitiful attempts from us to speak German back. I am SO thankful that God sent us to a place with such unbelivable truly makes a challenging situation so much more bearable. What a blessing.

The boys are back at the house playing one more round of Canasta before we take Bryan to the Banhof in Truchtlingen. Oh, how we will miss him!

Monday, August 11, 2008

More News From Kerrville

More news from Gena (with pictures...hooray!):
Well, Regan got a corn snake for his birthday from his brother. Your son LOVES it. Actually, your daughter has been quite entertained by it as well. Don't worry--very little and incapable of biting even if it wanted to. Yes, I have officially become brainwashed as a boy Mom since I made all sorts of declarations about never having a snake in the house. It's actually kind of cute and feels like a lizard when you hold it.

Second, we
have turned Kaelyn into a biker girl. She loves the motorcycle. Isn't the pic of Ryan and K precious? He loves to hold her, but these days about the only time she will sit still is when she's asleep!!

Finally, we went to the
arcade and played laser tag. At first, Zeke was a little scared because of the loud music, but once I got them to turn the music off, he got the hang of it. By the end, he was saying "I want to do it again. I want to do it again" He was also very good at the arcade games. He earned 216 tickets, but it took forever for him to decide what "goodies" to choose!

After the arcade, I stopped at the park to let the kids catch minnows. The three boys "accidentally" tripped and "fell in" getting their clothes all wet. I thought they looked so cute as they tried to hunt for fish, minnows, frogs, crawdads--basically anything that moved!! Love you guys! Gena

Reg's Birthday Party

Zeke got a chance to enjoy Regan's birthday swim party celebration during his stay in Kerrville.
Gena said Zeke LOVED the diving board and begged to let him go off the high dive although she decided that was a little much for him. He had quite an audience as he acted like a chicken flapping his arms all the way down the board and then jumping off in some crazy way.

One of the pictures is of Regan with the Aggie-maroon under armour shirt we gave him.
Thanks B.B. for sharing the pictures so we could post them!

Oh, we can hardly wait to squeeze those is right about now that Brad & I both decide that it's time to go home and snuggle them.

Happy Birthday Reg!

Monday's Treatment

We have been working out the details for Bryan's departure today. Tuesday (tomorrow) he heads by train from Truchtlingen to Munich to meet up with Isolde who will help him get to the airport at 7am Wednesday (so early!) Isolde lives only 15 mins from the airport so at least he won't have to travel far when he gets up at 4...yikes!

We are also planning to send Brad's medications and med supplies home with Bryan (one less piece of luggage for us to carry) so Nurse Christine and I are discussing how many weeks we will be home and when we will most likely return. Juggling Dr. Thaller's and our familiy's schedules can sometimes be interesting....this man really likes to vacation!

Today has been pretty uneventful here from Brad's treatment perspective. Dr. Thaller gave Brad several smaller dosed injections, which proved to not raise his temperature more than a degree. No fever. No shaking. Brad actually slept most of the morning which is highly unusual for him. While it was good that he didn't have overwhelming symptoms, we are praying for more of a fever reaction tomorrow.

It is 2:30pm here now and the guys have been complaining of growling stomachs. I think we will leave in the next half hour to head to Gunzenhausen to hit our favorite Italian hot spot...a restuarant that serves great pizza and calzones for only 5 can't beat that!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Funny Stories from Markt Berolzheim

Here are a few of the funnier moments from Markt Berolzheim.

1. The other day we were sitting outside in the backyard, enjoying the cool weather. I had brought a few items from the bakery to snack on. As Bryan tasted his third bakery treat, he suddenly yells out, 'I LOVE MARKT BEROLZHEIM!!' I think Bryan really has a passion for bakery items.

2. We have a ghost that lives with us at the top floor of the Pappenfuss house. Funny that my parents stayed on the top floor last time and didn't even mention him. We know that he is an old man ghost so we named him 'Elmer.' The certainty of his age comes from the fact that Elmer most frequently goes in and out of the bathroom, more than any other room. We will be playing cards in the main room and we'll hear the floor squeak in the kitchen, so we'll know that Elmer needed a snack. Or, at night we'll hear him move in and out of the bathroom....this house makes lots of noise, so we hear him a lot.

3. Yesterday, my friend Christine came by for a visit (she is the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Pappenfuss). Christine is a very animated woman who loves good conversation and a good company (which I'm sure is the reason she is attracted to our group!) She spent the better part of 30 minutes entertaining us with stories before we decided to leave for dinner. Before she left, she decided to give us parting kisses on the cheek. She started with me, then moved to Brad. As Brad worked to stand up to embrace her...he went to move his head to the side and she nearly planted one right on his mouth! It was hysterical! Right in front of his wife..can you believe it? Bryan, once realizing he was next, quickly jumped to his feet and so there would be no mistakes, crained his next as far to one side as possible...she almost had to kiss the back of his head! I laughed about that interaction for was SO funny. These boys...they are a trip!

Wims Family Wordle

I saw this 'Wordle' idea from my friend Melissa's blog. I thought it was really cool so I did it for our blog too. You can link your blog to their site and it will create a 'Wordle,' showing what words are used most frequently. It will also do it with any text that you want. I thought it was really neat.

Unless you have super-man vision, then you will have to click on the picture to enlarge it...big enough so you can read it.

Here is our 'Wordle' (isn't that cool!)
I know, you can quickly see how the girls take a real back seat to the boys in our family. HA! It reads ZEKE, BRAD..... Kaelyn..... and...I don't really see my name, but that has to be because I'm the author of this story & I don't prefer writing in the 3rd person.

Our Wonderful Weekend

Friday night brought a very high fever for Brad (a little over 104), so we decided against going all the way to Italy for the weekend. After much debate on other alternatives, the boys and I finally decided to drive to Nurnburg to sight-see.

The weather continued to be gorgeous so we spent the better part of 5 hours walking around downtown. This beautiful city provided a perfect place to take Brad because the large part of downtown is blocked off from car traffic and we could travel for about a mile without having to cross traffic (or navigate the wheelchair on and off sidewalks). The cobblestone pathways were a little bumpy but we managed well. I should really say that Bryan and Brad managed well....I only pushed the chair for about 5 minutes. :) Yeah Bryan!

At one point in the afternoon we decided to go to the North side of town to get a better look at the castle. After about 20 minutes of Bryan pushing Brad up an incline that must have stood at about 50 degrees, we thought better of that idea and sent Bryan up the slope to see the castle. We decided that even if Bryan & I got Brad up the slope, we didn't like the prospect of what the downward descent would look like. One missed step and we would likely send Brad careening down the street at about 50 miles and hour....that is until he hit a larger cobblestone that would probably lift him up out of the chair and send him into flight down the slope, face first.

We spent most of the day just walking around the streets, watching the people, looking in the shop windows, and commenting on all the market delicacies. Unsuspectedly, we came to Nurnburg during a celebration weekend so the streets were filled with all sorts of interesting characters, much resembling the kind of folk you would see at the Renissance Festival in Houston. There were dancers, singers, parades, small street shows and LOTS of vendors selling everything you can, fruit, vegetables, bratwurst, eggs, clothing, knick-knacks, bakery items, cookies, etc. It was really a lot of fun.

Today we have flirted with the idea of going to Eichstat for the afternoon but we may just stay around Markt Berolzheim and relax...we'll see.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Praise God!

Wow. There is so much to be thankful for's difficult to know where to start. So, I'll just list off all the reasons one-by-one for why I feel blessed today.

1. Bryan. I am SO thankful for our cousin Bryan who chose to come keep Brad entertained during his treatments. I am still not certain as to who this was more of a gift for...Brad because he has a buddy here to 'hang' with or for me so that I do not constantly try to think of new ways to entertain/distract Brad from the miserable treatments. I DEFINATELY know who is better at providing the entertainment and that would be Bryan! This afternoon the boys were entertaining themselves by making 'lists' in the spiral bound notebook that Bryan seems to have with him at all times (filled with mostly sports stats, I think). Two example topics of the 'lists' they were making today are: Top Worst Defensive Teams in the NFL & Top 10 Video Games of All-Time. I keep wondering what they will come up with next to discuss.

2. Great sleep. Brad & I both had a wonderful night of rest and we feel so refreshed. When I woke up, I immediately asked Brad how he was feeling and he said he felt good. I know that our restedness has a direct effect on our mental state which has been so much better the last couple of days.

3. Brad's cough. While still apparent from time to time...has been SO much better the last several days! Lesser cough = a much happier, much more relaxed Jenny

4. The weather. It continues to be cool, crisp, and breezy here. I want to do nothing more than be outside enjoying it ALL the time. It is wonderful!!!

5. High fever with little side effects. Brad's fever rose to 39 Celcius (102 point something) today but did not experience any breathing difficulty or extreme shaking. That was the best thing that could have happened. We had been concerned because Brad has not ran a high fever since Tuesday, but at the same time we were wary of pushing his limits and experiencing another episode like Tuesday. We had the best of both worlds...high extreme effects.

6. Amazing CT Report! The last and most important (I saved the best for the end!) Dr. Thaller came in first thing this morning to let Brad know that the radiologist had called to let him know the comparison of the CT in June with the CT that we did just before coming here (end of July). The comparison shows that the tumors have not grown since June's scan! We could not be more thrilled to hear this news. More importantly, Thaller explained that during immunotherapy, inflamation cells fill the tumor cells and he said that the inflamation cells can be the cause of up to two-thirds the size of the tumor. Meaning that two-thirds of what we see could be mostly inflamed cells and not tumor itself. Therefore, the tumor should be even smaller than it appears on the scan.

Just seconds after the news was shared with us a huge clap of thunder struck outside along with a flash of lightning. The weather changed in an instant. Much like our outlook on Brad's health changed in that same instant.

Dear Father,

We are on our knees thanking you and praising you for the wonderful works you perform in our lives. It was just a few nights ago that Brad & I were pleading with you, feeling desperate for you to send us some kind of sign that you were hearing our prayers. Painful thoughts of what we perceived we might be facing kept coming to the forefront of our minds. We were at such a low point, not knowing what to think or do or say to each other.

Thank you for laying your hands on Brad. Thank you for stopping the growth of tumors. Thank you for working a miracle on my sweet husband. We have so much that we want to do together. His presence and friendship in my life brings me so much joy. Thank you for intervening & coming to our rescue (in more ways than one). We continue to be in awe of you wonderous grace and power.

We love you Lord.

Zeke at Sea World With His Siblings

This is a great note from Gena sharing details of the children's adventures at Sea World yesterday. It sounds like the kiddos are really missing us....HA!

Hi Guys!!

Thought you might like to see some pics of your boy! We had the best time at SeaWorld. He was perfect! He, of course, loved the Shamu ride and we could hear him laughing while he was riding with Regan. He also loved the little water park in Shamu’s Happy Harbor . There was this one thing that just dumped water and he thought it was hilarious to stand right under it because the water was so strong that it would pull his bathing suit down in the back!!! The wave pool was a big hit too! No Fear!! He kept wanting to get deeper and deeper and told me that I didn’t need to hold his hand. He also really liked the Lazy River . However, Zeke and Ryan and Regan do not do anything the “lazy” way so there goal was to see how fast they could get around it. No floating for them!! When we had gone all the way around I made them stop so Lisa, Alli, etc. could catch up. Zeke didn’t want to wait and at one point he looked at me and said, “You wait for them, I’m just going to go around the block (the lazy river) and I’ll be right back!” He also liked being in charge of the map and leading the group to our next destination. He actually did really great at finding the locations on the map and figuring out the best way to get there.

Anyway, we had a great time and missed ya’ll terribly. Hope ya’ll did something fun today to celebrate!!!

Love to all,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Grosse Sea was our destination following Brad's 'release' from the clinic. We decided that because most of our afternoons are spent playing games & relaxing, that it would be fun today to do those activities seaside.

I was the only one of our group to brave the water today, the murkiness very comparable to that of Galveston Bay (so I felt right at home). However, the temperature of the lake was more than brisk I should say. We were told that the center of this body of water is 145 meters deep. That's no tiny lake!

The boys played Playstation games and talked more fantasy football (surprise, surprise) while I sat in the sunshine and read a book. It was such a beatiful day and so peaceful...I loved it.

For dinner Brad wanted to take Bryan to a Greek restaurant that we found in Weissenburg the last time we were here. We tried to explain to our waitress that we wanted to share a meal for 2 between the 3 of us. She thought we told her to make the 2 person meal a 3 person meal. It was gigantic...we could have easily fed 6 people from the plate they brought out to us. Needless to say, we had A LOT of leftovers. I have pictures that I will post later to show you the
It's 1:30pm and Brad just finished his round of hyperthermia treatment. After the 2 doses of Coley's toxins this fever at all. Brad is preparing himself for a bigger dosage tomorrow because he knows that Thaller would like to see him run more fever, so tomorrow's treatment will most likely be a lot harder for him.

Right now our three-some are making preparations for our weekend plans. We are considering a weekend trip to Venice or Rome and trying to decided between driving or taking a sleeper train. We are pouring over the maps trying to weigh different options.
It is 10am here and we are back in the clinic waiting for Brad's fever to start. Brad is being given the Coley's toxins in 2 doses again today in hopes to control the effects. So fever and we are waiting. The really good part is Brad is sleeping right now. Sleep is so rare these days...I am really thankful to see him napping. Last night he got some of the best sleep he has had in such a long time. Bryan & I made Brad a very special coconut mixture with coke for him to drink after dinner to help him seems to have helped...HOORAY!

Most of our days and evenings are filled with the guys playing video games, Canasta, dominoes and LOTS of fantasy football talk. I will occasionally blurt out words like, 'lipstick, shopping, purses, pink, & butterflies' just to shake up the imbalance of the highly-filled testosterone conversation. I mean, really...I have never heard 2 people have more to say about sports than these 2. I think they could talk about the Aggies, Astros, Texans, Rockets, & fantasy football from now until the end of time and that still wouldn't be enough. All joking aside, 'thank you Bryan for coming with us so that I don't have to be the sounding board for all the sports conversation.'

Thank you for all your sleep prayers...they are being heard. We are certainly getting more rest.

I will write more later to let you know how the rest of today goes...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The weather here today is breathtaking. Clear skys. Dry, cool (60ish), and absolutely wonderful. It is the kind of weather that we don't see in Texas until early November. For me, this type of feeling in the air is always energy-giving and invigorating. Yesterday afternoon the guys sat in the backyard to just be outside while they played a PSP football game together. Later they told me they had to come inside because they were 'getting too cool.' (Can you imagine...'too cool' August?) The weather has been a blessing in it of itself. I open the windows whenever possible so that I can smell the smells wonderful.

It is noon here and so far today's treatment has been relatively uneventful compared to yesterday's. Dr. Thaller decided to split up Brad's injections into 2 doses to help control his reaction today. So good. Brad experienced some minimal shivering and minimal fever but we are still waiting to see if he experinces a second round of shivering from the second injection. The nurses and Dr. Thaller have been so intuitive about Brad's needs. Yesterday he had them running. It was comforting to see how quickly they responded in that instant.

On another good note, a young Greek woman who was here receiving treatment from Dr. Thaller back in June is here again with us this week. When we were here in June she had to be carried upstairs and held as she walked from room to room. It was so encouraging to see how well she was getting around this week. She was walking around the clinic unassisted this week with a big smile across her face. It was really nice to witness her improvements.

Thank you for the prayers for sleep. Brad slept 5 hours last night which is considerably more than he has slept in a number of days. I think he feels more tired today, but most likely due to the fact that he was finally able to give his body the rest it so desired.

It is unusually quiet at the clinic today and spirits are low. Ingrid, the receptionist who works in Thaller's office witnessed the death of her boyfriend yesterday in a motorcycle accident. It is so terribly sad and it is hard to see how much the staff is suffering from this news. Please pray for Ingrid and her family. I believe to understand that her children witnessed his death also.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We Have Arrived

We all made it safely to Germany...yeah! The second leg of our trip was delayed some, but not enough to make Bryan wait too long for us. He ended up needing the extra time because, alas, when he went to pick up his luggage from the was not there. Ahhh...flashbacks from Disney trip 2007! I hope that his luggage does not take half of the trip to arrive like mine did (at least he is not wearing all white!) The airline called here at the clinic just a moment ago and claimed that they would be delivering his bag by midnight tonight, so we'll see.

The travel for Brad actually went much more smoothly than any flight we have taken over the last couple of years. My wonderful Aunt Karen donated air miles to get us first class tickets this trip. Our seats went back so far...we were almost laying was WONDERFUL!!!! Brad slept better on the plane then he did the night before in his own bed (during previous trips he hasn't slept a wink). Thank you Aunt Karen!!!!

Another blessing was the nice plane attendent from Continental Airlines loaded Brad's wheelchair directly into the cabin for us, so we had the chair for the layover in Paris. For those of you who have not traveled with someone disabled through an airport...this was a HUGE help!!!!!!! With the delay, we ended up spending 5 hours in the airport and it was so nice to be able to wheel Brad around and not be solely dependent on his crutches.

The second blessing came very unexpected from the airline attendents with Air France. Those attendents actually broke down Brad's wheelchair and spent several minutes trying to find a way to squeeze it into one of the overhead bins. I was just impressed that they tried so hard to accomodate. And, when it didn't fit...they gate checked the item and had it ready for us as soon as we stepped off the plane in Munich. Yeah Air France! (Alright have to stop bad mouthing that airline now). The reason this was so surprising was due to all the difficulty we had from British Airlines in getting our wheelchair (or any wheelchair for that matter) during our last trip to and from Germany.

The third blessing came at the car rental. Last time when we were here, I went to the desk to pick up our car and the woman behind the counter said she didn't have my reservation. The real problem was she didn't have the car in stock that we had reserved. Even though I had the print-out and confirmation number, she claimed that it didn't matter because I 'could have' canceled it on line (which I didn't) and I would still have the old paperwork. The process was grueling, but we eventually complained enough to get a car. THIS TIME...there was no fuss, no hassle. The receptionist was nice...she spoke English...she had my reservation and she even upgraded the car to a mini van to ensure that we would be able to get Brad's wheelchair into it easily! Thank you National Car rental.

Now, when we got to the was parked between two other rentals with about 8 inches between each vehicle. While there weren't any scratches on the car before I got in...I'm pretty sure there might have been one on the car next to me from trying to sqeeze into the driver's seat. Once I got in...I quickly realized that I would be driving a standard (which I did know...but had forgotten). Now..I don't mind driving a standard...that is the type of truck Brad drove when we first started dating so he had already taught me how to drive one...but that was a good 12 years ago! And...I certainly wasn't thrilled about testing my skills in a new, rental, with three cars surrounding it less than a foot apart, on an incline...not a lot of leeway for an error. And to make matters worse, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to take the parking brake off. So, here I am, in the car...trying to sike myself up to figure out how to drive this thing. Brad and Bryan are patiently waiting.... in the middle of the road with 3 bags of luggage, crutches, groceries, etc....while I try to figure out how to pull out. As I keep putting the car into 1st gear...I am praying that it is not in Reverse so that I don't slam into the car behind. Finally a very kind German man offers his help...which I GLADLY take. The only thing that made me feel a little less retarded is that it took him a few minutes to figure out how to release the parking brake also. Whew....he pulls the car out and then I am able to practice in the road without being pinned in.

The boys only have slight neck injuries from the gear-shifting. When I would complain about my own driving skills (or lack thereof), Bryan just kept saying he was going to continue to keep his mouth shut for fear that I might hand him the keys :)

As we left Truncht Linghen, a town we frequently get lost in and were approaching MB, we were wondering if we might have taken a wrong turn. We continued to drive and question whether we were going the right way. Brad promptly said that he knew how to tell if we were close. So he rolled down the window. The smell of manuer came pouring into the car. Brad turned to me and said, 'yes, I know we are close.'

Ms. Pappenfuss was waiting with keys in hand once we reached her home. It was nice to already be familiar with all the surroundings...that certainly made our arrival that much easier. Driving into Markt Berolzheim gave me the feeling like we hadn't ever left. I guess when you live somewhere for over a month and then return a month feels like that.

Monday's treatment was fairly easy. Brad hadn't taken Celebrex that morning so Dr. Thaller gave him a lower dosage of the virus, which gave him a slight fever, but not too bad.

Today's treatment was VERY hard. The hardest we have ever experienced. Brad's shaking was so bad in the beginning that he was having a lot of difficulty catching his breath. He had to sit up in bed and put the oxygen tubing into his mouth so that he could breathe through he mouth and still get the oxygen from the machine. That series of shaking really scared him. At one point, he looked over at me with panic in his eyes and I knew that he was afraid that he wouldn't be able to calm himself down. Dr. Thaller gave Brad some sort of relaxation medication and after about 15 minutes the shaking slowed and he was able to calm down. It was really quite unsettling. I'm sure that because of today, he will be more anxious about going back into another fever therapy session. Please pray that tomorrow's therapy goes more smoothly so that he will be able to better relax.

Brad is also only sleeping a couple of hours each night & really not any during the day either. His coughing has actually been much better, but now it just seems that he is struggling with getting comfortable and staying asleep. The lack of sleep is making both of us much more emotional. Please pray that he can get into a pattern of better sleep. I know rest will help lift his spirits.

I am so thankful that Bryan is here with us. His company has meant so much to both of us. Of course, I have heard enough fantasy football talk to last me a lifetime, but hey...if it keeps Brad entertained and distracted from all of this...then that is fantastic.

I will write more later. I need to go home and cook dinner for the boys. We love you all.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

We Leave Tonight

We are taking off from the airport tonight at 6:40pm. Bryan is on a seperate flight that leaves about 15 minutes ahead of ours. Bryan is flying through London, Brad and I through Paris. So, Bryan should be in Munich when we land...I'm just praying that with our different connections...we still end up getting there on the same day!

Nonnie & Gwanddad are left in charge of the two munchkins, so they will need your prayers too...prayers that Kaelyn doesn't destroy their house in Granbury when they get there and prayers that they are able to keep up with Zeke's high lever of energy!

Several of you have asked for the mailing address Markt Berolzheim and other information so I will go ahead and post it again.

Address for mail:
Brad Wims
c/o Arno Thaller
Benzing 6
91801 Markt Berolzheim

Phone to the clinic:
011 49 9146 311
(we will be there M-F from 7:45am til about 3pm which is 12:45am til 8am Texas time)

Fax to the clinic:
(in case you would rather fax a note to Brad)
011 49 9146 224

It may be several days until I am able to get to a computer again, so we will let everyone know how the trip went as soon as we can. Thank you for your prayers. We love you all.

K Says "I Love You!"

Little Dora

G.G's nickname for Kaelyn is "Dora the Explorer." I think a more fitting name for her is "Dora the Destroyer" due to her enept ability to get into EVERYTHING! Nothing is safe from THE KAELYN DENISE! She is the child who moves furniture to climb onto tall cabinets & tables, she puts objects into the toilet, she eats my jewelry, she is constantly raiding the pantry (leaving food all over the house), and she loves playing in the bathroom. Here is a picture of her with an exciting goodie she found in a bathroom drawer & promptly stuck to her belly. If you are thinking to yourself, "is that a...." The answer is yes, why yes it is.

Zeke's Birthday Gift

Nonnie & Gwanddad bought Zeke a Sea-Doo for his four and a half birthday. They brought the gift with them this trip so Zeke has had the opportunity to use it for the first time this week. He LOVES it! After some practice, he can now use it to go along the bottom of the pool...but not in the really deep part yet (he "doesn't have enough breath for that yet"....according to Zeke).

More Pool Pics