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