Saturday, February 3, 2007

Just Keeps Getting Better and Better!...

Hi All:

Kelly here, reporting from Houston. We touched down safely yesterday after the kids' first EVER plane ride. While we were on the runway in Chicago, Jack kept asking when we were going to "blast off." (Something tells me he's going to like NASA). The kids really enjoyed the trip. They were absolutely bouncing off the walls. So, I was glad that they slept in the car on the way from the airport to Jeff's apartment. Thank you, Margaret, for picking us up. I would recommend your taxi service any day!

We had a fun night last night. The kids spent most of their time hugging Jeff and begging to eat snacks--yes, they fell right into their old routine! Everyone is tired today, but we have kept up a good pace. Our friends, Kevin and Melissa Gardner (and Trey, of course!) came over for lunch. The kids loved playing with Trey. Trey is 15 months old and is a real charmer--he has the sweetest dispostion. Now, Aubrey and I are checking e-mails while Jeff and Jack spend some time watching the Big Screen T.V. in the clubhouse. (They're just warming up for the Super Bowl tomorrow).

Finally, with John's permission, I am happy to announce the birth of my first niece: Ella Alina. Ella was born at precisely 1:00 p.m. CST on February 1st. She weighed in at 6 lbs. 2 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. She has red (!?) hair and her mother's beautiful face. She was spared all resemblance to my brother with the exception of her ears and toes! :-) I hope Anni is already teaching her Finnish! It's so nice to have something as exciting as a new baby in the family to distract us from the cancer that has usurped our attention for the past month.

But, Jeff still needs your prayers and encouragement. His biggest fear is that people will become disinterested or complacent once the "newness" of his diagnosis wears off. He needs to hear from you all now that he is gearing up for his second treatment cycle. Reading all of your posts really motivates him and now is the time to share your well wishes given that he will be largely unable to review and respond to them next week when he is hospitalized again. I, of course, will continue to read your e-mails and comments to him regardless, because I think it all sinks in even if he is sleeping, but he loves hearing from you--it's one of the things that makes this whole mess livable.

Over and out, Kelly


Katie Clancy said...

Awesome news! Glad everything went well with the trip. I hope the weather is nice and warm. Though I am in Idaho as I write, I hear its freezing in the midwest also. Enjoy the time together as a family. Jeff- keep gearing up for round #2! All the best, KAtie

aubrey kate said...

Hi everybody! I'm here in Houston and it's awesome! It's really nice out and there are awesome palm trees at the apartment we have! There's a nice pool too but it's not heated so it's too cold to swim in.
I miss everybody in Wisconsin!
Lots of love,
aubrey kate :)

TheRamFam said...

Hey Jeff,

Great to hear you are hanging in there and that you are surrounded by your family once again. Just want you to know that we think of you and pray for you daily. I have the guys at praying for you too.

ND Hoops takes on South Florida tonight. They have been exceeding eveyone's expectations this year, especially without Kyle M. on the team. They scored 103 points against Syracuse in the carrier dome. The game is not on TV, but you can usually listen to it on the internet here: or here:

Stay strong, bud.

Tom, Kerry & Family

mphaley said...

Sounds like it's great to have the whole family together. I can imagine that it really boosts your spirits! We're thinking and praying for you often and I look forward to your posts (I added it to "my yahoo" page so I don't miss any!)

God bless and best wishes on next week's round of treatments.

The Haleys

mka said...

We've been having quite a cold spell here. It's been about 25 below the past two mornings. I'm gearing up to go to John and Anni's to help out with the new baby. I'm flying out of Grand Island Monday and will be back in Grand Island Friday. Then I'll spend the night with Terri and Ben & kids, and eventually head home Sunday. Dan will be running the place while I'm gone. I hope things continue to go good in Houston. I'm so glad the kids made it up to see you Jeff. I think that would be just what the doctor ordered. Love, Myrna (Mom)

ljpa said...

Hello Dodd Squad. Glad to hear the airline travel to Texas went smoothly. And congratulations to the whole family on the birth of Ella Alina! We continue to pray for all of you, but especially for Jeff as he gears up for Round 2. Grace sends special greetings to Regan. Laura, Dave & Grace

Michael said...

Hi Jeff - you might not recognize my name, but I met you in November 2005 as Marc and I were driving from Chicago to Minneapolis. I've been reading your blog nearly everyday to hear about your progress. I'm very glad that you are getting the most state of the art care at MD Anderson - it's really a world class place. Morever, it's great to see how loving and supporting a family you have. Good luck with the weight gain - maybe you can try beer and pizza, as it seems to work well for most freshman. Enjoy your sunshine (drizzles here today). Michael Linden Seattle, WA

katie.elsener said...

Hi Dodd Squad,
We just read your blog and are happy you are all together again. Enjoy this time together. Jeff, rest up and eat up so that you are ready for next week. Kelly, thanks for the updates. We check them every day. Keep your chins up!
Mark and Katie Elsener

Jim said...

Jeff & Kelly -- We remembered your family at the Thomas More Society First Friday Mass last week. What could be better than a room full of lawyers praying for you?

Keep Fighting Cancer Like a Champion. Please let us know if there is anything we can do here in Milwaukee for you --

Jim Carrig

Scotty SOS said...

Hi Jeff, so great to hear about your progress. Just wanted to let you know that you are in our prayers more than ever. The more people I tell, the more people are praying for ya. Thanks for keeping us up to date with the blog.

Scott (Aardvarks)

Michelle & Jeff said...

Congrats on the new baby niece, Kelly! They are fun to spoil! Thanks so much for being such an incredible wife and mother to Jeff and the kids. I'm so blessed to have a sister-in-law such as yourself to look up to. I love you Kelly!

Jerry and Lu Olmsted said...

Jeff and Kelly: Uncle Jerry and I read the updates daily. It certainly helps us knowing what each day is like for you. Uncle Jerry said to type, "saying our prayers every day and loving you, too!" That's a quote and I say "ditto!" Glad the kids are enjoying Houston and most especially their reunion with you. Best of everything going into round two.

aubrey kate said...

Hi mom and dad! Whats up? i'm back here in Wisconsin and i'm just hanging out. How's texas? I can't wait 4 u guys 2 go home!
Lot's of Love,

Rosalie said...

Jeff & Kelly,
Our prayers are with you as you start "Round 2." Stay positive!
We follow each days progress-& relate too well to the ups and downs, but know that prayers are very powerful and you have lots of prayers going your way.

Kelly, take care of yourself!

Rosalie O.

chip said...

Hi Jeff and Kelly,

Just wanted you to know we check your progress often. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
Love to you both,
Chip and Jane