The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Monday, March 31, 2008

Could it be a UFO has landed in our driveway?

I'm sure the neighbors must be wondering what is taking shape on our driveway. This snow covered unidentifiable object is actually a steel dome climbing structure for the kids! Yesterday on our way to Denver to watch a "Colorado Crush" arena football game, we stopped at Costco and bought "the dome." Remember our trampoline that blew away in the 75 mile hour winds? Well, the poor kids have been missing something to play on, so this structure will be part of phase one in our "play area" of the property. Tom has it almost complete, and then it will be moved to an out of the way area where the kids can enjoy it, but all the neighbors won't have to see our colorful UFO on a daily basis! Now we just need to find a way to bolt it down so when the winds pick up, our dome won't be found in the neighbors pasture like the trampoline! :-)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Vacation has begun!

We're feeling latest skin biopsies showed that my melanoma had NOT mom's brain cancer has NOT returned, and we are feeling healthy! My mom had a good day, and we are hoping for many more! My heart scan did show that I have some plaque around one artery, but my risk of coronary artery disease, (what my dad so unexpectedly passed away from) is not a risk for me right now. The doctor wants me to do a few more tests, and I will need to start taking a baby aspirin daily for the rest of my life. That is just fine, and I am relieved that my varied heart issues are not more serious.

Last night I had dinner with two new friends and it was such an enjoyable evening. We ate at a swanky Longmont restaurant, and enjoyed wine, riveting conversation, and new foods. Dining with adults is so calm and relaxed in comparison to eating out with children. Tonight we ate out as a family, and although it was enjoyable trying a new restaurant together, the conversation around; "Eat your macaroni", "Don't talk so loudly", and "Pick up your toys on the floor" certainly makes for a different, although equally appreciated, dynamic in dining out! :-) I'm not complaining though, two nights of not having to do dishes is a luxury!

The kids were in great moods tonight as it is the first evening of spring break in Colorado! Ashlyn had a friend over to play, and they kept busy for 3 hours this afternoon in the basement designing a "carnival." Their carnival was complete with a petting zoo, (stuffed animals) concession stand, (candies and nuts) pony rides, (sitting atop "Butterscotch") and entertainment where you would earn tickets to purchase toys at the prize station ( a bin of beloved trinkets and treasures.) It was great to see imagination at work!

We've all settled in with our books...I just finished reading, Charms for an Easy Life, and have begun, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Tom just finished To Kill a Mockingbird, and Kyle is working on the final 30 pages of, Eldest. Ashlyn just started reading chapter 2 of her first Harry Potter book, and I am amazed that a first grader can actually grasp the concepts, and fluently read a book such as this. Let us know what you are reading...Tom is always looking for new books and loves suggestions.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend! Until next time...Denise

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lorraine's Update

Good News! The cancer
has NOT returned! Ü

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Afternoon Update

I spoke with my mom, and her caregiver, Gayle this afternoon. My mom had another blood draw this morning and the results were mixed. All of her numbers came up just enough that she is not eligible for a blood transfusion, but they are not high enough to undergo chemotherapy. She has been feeling poorly, and is very weak and short of breath. She met with her primary doctor and he had consulted with her oncologist. They have ordered an MRI (scheduled for tomorrow) fearing that her cancer may have returned. Her doctor thinks that it is the cancer that is causing some of her symptoms. If the cancer has started to regrow in her brain, it may be responsible for the weakness, breathing difficulties, etc... He told her to go and do what she chooses to; including attending church, activities, or whatever she is up for since her white cells are high enough to fight off any infection. I will keep you posted as she learns what the MRI reveals. She will follow up with her doctor on Friday to review the results. We continue to hope and pray for as much quality time as possible...time to go, visit, do, see, and just "live." To live with hope and joy is a great gift, and my mom possesses both.

Another Transfusion...

My mom is feeling well, and is pleased that her white cells responded to the "infusion therapy" last week. Unfortuantely, her platelets and hemoglobin, etc...are still not where they need to be, so she will undergo another blood transfusion. Today, after her morning blood draw, her doctors will collaborate and decide what should happen next regarding her treatment. I will keep you posted as we learn more. My mom remains upbeat and positive through-out the whole process. She did say that she is hungry all the time, but foods just don't take good, so that is very unsatisfying. I am sure that the first round of chemo has affected her taste buds, so she is still waiting to find the perfect food that tastes good and goes down well! She still has 24 hr. help right now for appointments, help around the house, that continues to bring me peace of mind since we are so far away. I look forward to seeing my mom at Mother's Day, and pray that she will once again be able to do the many things she enjoys. As she has said, she just wants to be home, to live out her days doing everything she loves! Take time today, to do the same!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunny and Warm!

The snow is all melted and it is expected to be in the high 60's today! Yesterday the kids were bundled up in winter coats, and today they are in short sleeves!

Colorado schools have one more week before vacation, so our kiddo's got up bright and early. Ashlyn is bringing in her new talking parrot, "Polly" for sharing, and is thrilled to continue the birthday celebrating at school today. She is excited to have the class sing to her today when she passes out her treats, and woke up ready to, "Hurry and get on the bus Mom! I can't miss my celebration!" She is also presenting the class with a book, as a gift for the library in honor of her birthday. The weekend of celebrations continues!

Easter in the snow

Well, this was a first! We've never had a snowy Easter, so the kids were thrilled to wake up to a sunny, but white Easter Sunday!

Kyle with Long's Peak in the background.

The Easter Bunny even hid eggs in the mailbox!

Ashlyn finds the "golden egg!"
Tom and the kids end "round one" of egg hunting and come inside to warm up.

Warming up by the fire to open eggs...

Spring tries to peek through the frozen ground.

What fun! Ashlyn's birthday was sunny and perfect, and by evening when we went out to dinner, the snow was falling! We awoke to a sea of white, and the kids had their first Easter hunting for eggs in the snow! The Easter Bunny had been busy hiding eggs over the property, so it took the kids well over an hour to find the first 100!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy 7th Birthday Ashlyn!

When Ashlyn woke up this morning, she discovered a house full of balloons!

We're ready for the big cooking party...each child had a little basket filled with plastic food and rolling pins for their treat bags! The kids names were written on recipe cards...I was trying to be clever!

These were the invitations that were printed up on recipe cards and attached to a spatula!

Our neighbor and awesome sitter Christie, came to help us with the party. Ashlyn was so excited to have a "big girl" there!

The kids decorated chef hats and recipe card holders for a craft.

Having fun at the party...

The birthday girl!

Decorating kitchen aprons with fabric paints...

The kids worked in groups to bake pizzas.

The delicious finished pizzas!

Happy Birthday Ashlyn!

The kids played down in the basement while the eggs were being is the only place in the house where they couldn't see up to ground level!

We filled 200 eggs for a big egg hunt at the end of the party. What fun it is hiding eggs on 3 acres! Tom, Christie, and Kyle hid eggs while Ashlyn opened up her gifts in the basement. (We had to go somewhere so the kids couldn't peek!)

Christie and her cute little "bug!"

The kids follow Tom like little ducklings....

The best part...opening all the eggs and seeing what is inside!

The birthday brigade!

A wonderful time was had by all! Ah, to be 7 years old again!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Landscape Plans

My mom had wanted me to pass on the photos of our basement where she stayed while undergoing her initial treatments. This is the 5th bedroom which we consider our "guest suite!" :-)

There is a little kitchenette and a fireplace to enjoy if you come to visit next!

This is the theatre system, with Ashlyn's toys in the middle!

The dogs spend their days napping in the sun upstairs. You can see them on the red blanket.

Remember my "Longmont Luxury" of farm fresh milk delivered right to our door in glass bottles? Well, now our neighbor is bringing by eggs from their chickens, so we are "farm fresh" in our refrigerator! Notice all the brown and green eggs....there are even spreckled ones...I thought those were only found on Easter candy!

We are growing "Magic Rocks" so Ashlyn wanted you to see the experiment in the background.

We had a landscape architect come and draw up plans for our 3 acres. His plans were wonderful, but due to the costs, we will have to implement the plans in phases over MANY years. The first plan of attack will be clearing out the cattails in the pond, and planting more trees down the long driveway. I will be sure and take "before and after" photos once we get started!

Good News! My mom had her "infusion therapy" today of white blood cells. It went well but took some time, and they warned her that her bones would be very sore tomorrow since the infusion goes right to the bone marrow. This therapy will boost her white blood cells which increases her resistance to infection. If her platelets do not recover, she will not be able to undergo chemo, but having the higher white cells will allow her to take part in the things she enjoys so that she will not be home bound. This is a huge morale boost for my mom!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Snow, St. Patrick's Day, and Easter Eggs

Good news! I spoke with my mom's oncologist in CA and he has agreed to give my mom the shots needed that boost her white blood cells. This will increase her resistance to infection, and will allow her to take part in the activities that she enjoys. If her platelets increase, she will be eligible for chemotherapy, and if not, she will not be a candidate for further chemo treatments. I will keep you posted as we learn more.

Above are the photos we took on St. Patrick's Day. The gorgeous snow has all but melted today, and our little "leprechaun" holding her dyed Easter eggs, is eagerly preparing for her birthday on Sat. and for Easter on Sun. We have been busy getting the aprons ready to paint, the chef hats put together, and organizing our pizza ingredients for the big "Cooking Birthday Party" on Sat. We are expecting 10 little girls for Ashlyn's celebration! It is sure to be loads of fun, and a high energy party! :-) I'll be sure and post photos of the big day. (Tom and I will be the ones with a glass of wine at the end of the party! hee hee)

Lorraine's Latest

I spoke with my mom this morning, and she is doing OK. Her blood counts remain very low, so she is still not able to be out in public. It is hard not being able to see her friends, and take part in the things she enjoys. She also feels low on energy, and not many foods sound appealing. Regarding chemotherapy, she is in a "wait and see" mode regarding her blood levels and if they will "recover" this week. The medical care she is getting in her hometown is not as proactive as we would like, nor is it the outstanding care we became used to here at Longmont United Hospital. I will keep you posted as we learn more, and again, thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cornflake Snow

12 hours later...good morning! This was our view taking Kyle to the bus stop at 7:15 a.m.

In Dec. of 2007, Tom and I flew out to Boulder to investigate the area, and decide on if we wanted to relocate our family to Colorado. We didn't know it at the time, but we were in the middle of the infamous "blizzard of 2007." We remarked on the snow and how it looked like literal cornflakes. We loved the big and irregular soft flakes of snow that looked like they were being shaken from the sky out of a giant cereal box. Well, tonight the 'cornflake snow' is back, and the entire ground is covered. We went out to dinner just to drive through the beauty of it, and thought the restaurant was closed since no one was inside. Now we know that snowy weather is a great way to avoid crowds when dining out! :-) Here are the best photos I could muster of the nightime "cornflake snow!"