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Oct 31, 2008

Update Prayer request and Favorite Foto Friday and Happy Birthday

These are pictures from today. Can you guess where we are?

Abby at a Halloween party downstairs.

Abby with two of her favorite nurses. Most of her other favorites were
dressed a little scary for Miss Abby.

Abby as I am typing this post.

The last picture is my favorite of the day, not because it is a great picture, but because it shows Abby finally comfortable and resting.

Thursday night we came to the hospital for 2 units of blood. If everything went well, we were supposed to go home after they were finished. As they finished transfusing, at 3 am, Abby's temperature spiked to 101. This guaranteed her at least 48 hours in the hospital.

Friday morning Abby started hurting. She has developed mucositis; canker sores on her digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. The last time she had this problem she was in intense pain and hospitalized for 2 weeks. So far, it is not as severe as last time, but still very painful. I don't know if we just caught it sooner, but we hope things will be less severe this time.

Abby is getting morphine continuously, with extra doses when she pushes a button, so for now she is comfortable. They will increase the dose if things get worse.

We would appreciate it if you would pray that the sores would heal quickly, that Abby's pain would be controlled and that she would be free of infection or other illnesses. Abby is also saying that her neck is hurting a lot. That is something that she never complains about.

Landis and Daddy have a stomach virus that is tough enough on them. I am praying they are better soon and that Abby would not catch this virus too. I hate being away from them when they are sick.

This is one time I am glad that most of you live far away. ;-) I thought that we would just be at the hospital for a few hours, so I only packed a few things to pass the time. While I am glad that I have my laptop and camera, it would be nice if I would have packed a change of clothes, makeup, brush and few other things. Thank goodness that will be taken care of tomorrow.

Abby only wants the pillow her Guatemalan Foster parents gave her. That pillow has was sewn with love and it is a treasure. Today is my Godson's birthday. Happy Birthday Carlos Roberto. We wish we were in Guatemala celebrating with you. We love you so much and are very proud of you.

Oct 30, 2008

One of Those Days

I decided to get all of our winter clothes out of storage, wash them, organize them and put away our summer clothes. Not a big deal, but since we have so many kids it takes some work.

After I pulled all the clothes out, Landis came down with a stomach virus. Not fun, but still not hard to handle.

Now it looks like Abby will need a blood transfusion soon. She has many tiny red bruises on her body and an old bruise is growing bigger and her arm is beginning to swell.


The girls were just being silly, but the picture fits.

Would you please continue to pray for my family?

Oct 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Dress-up Fun with Friends


Abby and Sami love to play dress up, especially if their friends play too.


T., Abby and Samrawit. Sami and T. are wearing beautiful
dresses that we bought in Ethiopia.

L and Landis.......................WWF
Abby and Sami wanted us to take there picture together.
L. crashed their picture. :-)


Best Friends



Working like Daddy.

Abby isn't able to go around crowds, because her body can't fight infections. Abby LOVES, LOVES, LOVES when friends come to our home to play.

Sisters and great friends

Oct 28, 2008

Video of Abby and Facebook

Tara made a video of Abby and posted it to YouTube. We loved the video and Abby was so excited to see it. Tara, thank you so much for making a video of Abby.

Please let everyone know who is praying for Abby so they can enjoy this.



Lisa Prather created a Facebook group called I Pray for Abby. Please take a minute and check it out...


What a great way tell others about Abby and to ask for prayers. Lisa, thank you so much for doing this for Abby. You were so sweet to take the time to help Abby.

Party at the Hospital

Abby enjoyed doing crafts at the Halloween party at her hospital. She was nervous about getting poked by the nurse later, but didn't let that stop her from playing.






The volunteers apologized for all of the candy, but I was thankful for every tempting calorie. Abby would eat only fruits and vegetables if you let her. Healthy, but not enough calories to help her gain weight.


The hospital chaplain dressed up as a mummy.
Abby was too "cool" to act scared, so she ignored him instead.

I am thankful that she was able to do something fun, while she waited to get her chemo.

Later, some good friends came over. We got some great pictures of all of the kids. I will try to post them tomorrow.
Thank you so much for praying for Abby today. She didn't get sick at all and was able to have some fun. For a chemo day, that is pretty amazing.

Oct 25, 2008

Abby: A Taste of Our World

As you can see, Abby loves to cook. Helping bake cookies is one of her favorite things. When we were adopting Abby, Landis and Sami one of the ways we raised money was by creating the adoption cookbook.

We compiled dozens of recipes from the countries and families of adopted children. Salads, appetizers, main dishes, soups, desserts... over 150 pages of great recipes.


We have several cases of the cookbooks leftover from that fundraising effort. We would like to offer them again to do some fundraising for the expenses related to Abby's leukemia. Gas, food, prescriptions, hospitals, doctors, tests... at a time when our income was unexpectedly and dramatically cut, our expenses went up.

But, we don't simply want to ask for money. We want to sell this fantastic recipe book for a price you would happily pay at a book store. The recipes are wonderful, and the pictures of the adopted kids heartwarming.

On the cover is a picture Abby, and Amy Block's daughter, Aleigha. Many of you know Amy already but if you don't make sure you check out her blog here... you won't be disappointed.

If you would like to buy one, it would be a real blessing for Abby and our family.

Making cookies with Mee Maw... secret recipe!

Oct 24, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday - Pumpkins


Abby was discharged from the hospital late last night. Praise God. It was the shortest hospital stay we have ever had.



I am sorry it has taken me a while to send out an update. When we got home I hit the ground running and haven't stopped. Abby and the other children are doing great. But there is a lot of work that needs to be done. I would appreciate your continued prayers.



Abby returns to the hospital clinic on Monday. She will get chemo, which is not so fun. They are also having a Halloween party for the patients, so Abby is very excited about going.



I hope that you all have a wonderful time with your families this weekend. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Oct 23, 2008

Chocolate Blood


By Brent (http://www.brentriggsblog.com/ )


If I had to pick one adjective to describe the everyday life of our family it would be "humor". The title to our family blog "…where laughter lives" is not just some cute moniker, it really does define the atmosphere in our home.


My wife is the closest thing in our family to NOT being a jokester or a prankster, but don't let her quiet demeanor fool you. She has quite a sense of humor as well. One thing that is funny about our family, and sometimes embarrassing, is that we have a long list of words and phrases that make up our own special vocabulary.


Here's just a few of our many family phrases that have popped up recently as we spend a lot of time at the hospital. We have a long list and this is just a drop in the Chuck’it Buck’it:


Chuck’it Buck’it:
You know those pink plastic boxes that they give you in the hospital to throw up in? Even at three years old, poor little Abby has gotten to be an expert at vomiting in the most proper and neat manner. If you ask her where the "Chuck’it Buck’its" are, she will confidently inform you that there's one in each car, one in her bedroom and one in the living room.


Poop-A Lot:
A lot of the chemotherapy and medication that Abby has to take causes her to be constipated. So we frequently have to mix a medication with whatever she is drinking to remedy that side effect. Because her stomach is so sensitive, she often is only able to drink chocolate PediaSure, the vitamin fortified infant and toddler drink. So we mix a powdered laxative medicine into it for relief of constipation and PediaSure is magically transformed into "Poop-A Lot".


Chocolate Blood:
The first time Abby saw her own blood in an IV, it was really dark in color. For whatever reason, it looked like chocolate being pumped through the tube so now every time Abby gets blood, it's referred to as getting the "chocolate blood". Her two-year-old brother can't figure it out when Abby wants to give him some chocolate blood because he can never seem to find the candy she's talking about.


Tickle Poke:
Abby has been stuck with needles countless times in the last four months. There are two kinds of needle sticks that she understands: ow-wee pokes and tickle pokes. Ow-wee pokes are needle sticks that go into fresh skin that has not been numbed. Tickle pokes are when a special cream has been put on the skin to numb her so it doesn't hurt. Abby often administers "tickle pokes" to the ribs of her brother and sister.


Buttcrack Alert:
No buttcrack that is showing is safe in our house. It's not that we go around displaying them on purpose, but with seven kids and all the activity, it is bound to happen to anyone at any time... so you better hope our two-year-old is not around. Any accessible buttcrack that is visible is fair game for the "buttcrack alert" which involves the little fella running up behind you and inserting his pointer finger into the area of violation and declaring "BUTTCRACK!" for all to hear.


Porcupines:
This would be when daddy hasn't shaved that day and goes to kiss one of the kids on the cheek and scratches them with his "porcupines".


Two Eyes:
There are certain medications and sedation that cause Abby to be groggy and have a hard time focusing her eyes. During those times you're likely to get informed that you have "two eyes". The first couple of times she said, "daddy you have two eyes", I just thought she was being cute and couldn't figure out why she was saying it. I'm kind of dull but my wife filled me in on the obvious: when Abby is groggy she sees double. Thus, everyone has two eyes, two noses and two mouths.


Fuh Fuh Room:
Well that's the family room of course, but I'm sure you already had that one figured out.


Pig Meat:
And that would be Sami and Abby's favorite ham luncheon meat.


That's just a partial list. Over the years, we have forgotten more than we can remember. The Bible says that laughter is good medicine and during this particularly difficult time in the life of our family we can personally testify to the truth of that.


Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go take care of my porcupines in the same room where the porcelain chuckit buckit resides (you thought I'd end it with a Poop-A-Lot comment, but my wife would kill me).

Oct 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday, almost

Thank you so much for praying for Abby. We are still in the hospital, but she is feeling much better tonight. We have had a lot of fun today. My day was filled with tea parties, baby dolls, play dough and lots of laughter and singing. Abby got a blood transfusion today and it added to the energy she already possessed.

She has gone 24 hours without a fever. If she as a normal temperature and labs in the morning, she will get to go home. Oh I hope we get to go home.

I am praying they give her platelets before they discharge her. They are pretty low and her two year old brother is a tank. We watch them very closely, especially when her platelets are low, but that boy can run like the wind. He is just too young to understand that Abby could end up with internal bleeding, from being tackled.

Pictures from today.

Teasing Daddy, who hates broccoli. Abby ordered it twice today.


Mirror Fun


Oh I love seeing her smile again. Thanks again for praying for Abby.


So proud of herself for telling her nurse how much she drank~in milliliters.

Tickle Fun.

Oct 21, 2008

Update and Thanks

I am pretty tired and my computer is acting up, so I apologize for the poor job in editing.



Thank you so much for all of your prayers and comments. They encourage more than you can imagine.

Abby's temperature is still over 102, but she is getting the IV fluids/antibiotics she needs.

She has the tiniest veins, so blood draws are always hard. Anytime she runs a fever, they take blood from both her veins and port, in order to determine where the infection is coming from. Today, she was stuck with needles 7 times. It was a hard day for Abby and a tough to watch her endure it.

Now her pain is controlled and she is quietly playing with some toys. Soon I will listen to her prayers and tuck her in bed. Would you pray that she is able to sleep tonight? She is a good sleeper, but there are a lot of interruptions in the night at a hospital.

It was so hard for me to leave our other children again. I miss them so much. Brent is my best friend and I hate being away from him. I don't sleep well when we are apart and Brent doesn't have time to sleep, even if he could.

Would you pray for my family while we are in the hospital?

We are tired from our long day, but very thankful that God is here with us. We praise God for giving us such wonderful friends, but old and new.



The yellow ducky hat was a gift from Holly at http://ursheadwear.com/ She let us pick between 1000 different fabrics. Thank you Holly. You were a bright spot in our day.



Beautiful eyes, but oh so sad. She said that her legs weren't hurting, but cried when they were moved. So hard to figure things out when everything hurt some and you are only 3 years old. A little pain medicine and she is up walking and playing. Since the princess is inviting me to a tea party, I think I will end this update and enjoy being with my daughter. I think that she earned a little later bed time.

Thanks again for praying.




Please Pray for Abby, temp 103 and rising...


Abby woke up from her nap today with a temp of 102 and going up by the minute, now almost 103. We are heading to the hospital fast, to be admitted.

Would you please pray that Abby would be calm during the proceedures, that they would be able to draw her blood, and get her fever under control. She is on the harshest chemo right now and has been miserable this.

I will write more later tonight.






Oct 19, 2008

Sad Day For Mommy, Haircuts, Two Year Old Prayers and Magazine Monday

It’s amazing the twists, and turns and curves that life throws at you.

This week we gave our child chemo - at home. We pulled out access ports that feed into her heart and then cut off all her hair. We can tell you pretty much all you’d ever want to know about cancer, MRSA, hospitals, insurance, drugs, side effects and IV’s. We’re experts at bleach baths, germ control, antibiotics, infections and isolation contagious kids. We live with kids who are far too educated about medical topics, even a two year old who prays about being sick and getting well every night.

I (Brent) recorded Landis praying tonight. He is only two, and can pray like a long-winded preacher. He doesn’t repeat stuff either. It’s all fresh and new every night. Listen to what I recorded last night... a lot of it is “kid speak” that only a childs’ parents will understand but you’ll hear stuff about tacos, dinner, Ms. Dorothy and Mr. Johnny (our neighbors), MeeMaw and PawPaw, Abby and Sami “get better”, and something about not pooping in his diaper. He’s a HOOT!

If only our own prayers were so simple and sincere. Listen here…

We finally cut Abby’s hair tonight. We had been waiting for HER to say she wanted it, and today she simply asked “Daddy, will you cut my hair off now?” For weeks Abby has been mostly bald. She had just enough hair left to make her look sickly. We knew that she would look better with her hair cut off, but she was holding on tight to those last strands. We didn't push her, just waited until she was ready.

She has known from the start that when her hair was gone, she would get to whack off Daddy's hair. The "prize" was finally enticing enough for her to take the plunge. With low platelets and immunity, we had to be very careful to not nick her head with clippers but Daddy is the family barber, and pretty skilled at it. It was a family event:


Abby did great! Smiled the whole time… loved her new look. Garrett, Christian, Sami and Landis? They all rubbed her head and told her that she was beautiful. Here's a look at her hair since she was diagnosed:

How did Mommy do? Fine in front of Abby, but it is honestly a very sad day for me (Michelle). I am thankful that she is beautiful with and without hair. But, it is a very visual reminder of just how sick our precious daughter is.

Abby has very tough day today (Monday). She gets two shots of a thick liquid in her legs. She hates them and they are legitimately very painful. She is also supposed to get the chemo that makes her muscles very weak and her legs hurt. We have tough decisions about how MUCH chemo to give her; balancing between killing the aggressive cancer, and not making her so sick she will die from it. Please pray for God’s guidance for us.

Along with being “at home doctors”, we are also now experts witnesses of the kindness of Christian love. The list of charity and care for our family could go on and on but here’s a few samples:

  • Meals every night for the past two months (do you have any idea how much time, money, driving and emotional energy this saves us?)
  • Money for gas and food

  • Help with medical bills

  • Frozen food and snacks for the kids
  • Vitamin supplements and nutritional items
  • It looks like some kind friends are going to replace the carpet with wood floors in the side of the house where Abby sleeps to cut down on the germs and allergens

  • Baby sitters whenever we need it

  • Family members helping in any way we ask

  • Christians from all over the country sending Abby gifts, and raising money for various needs like hair pieces, hats and supplies

That’s not to mention the COUNTLESS numbers of prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf. It is abundantly clear that God answers prayers and that we have been the recipient of His provision, grace and mercy on a grand scale.

And yet, as I (Brent) write this, I’m reminded that normal life goes on as a stinkin’ fly is relentlessly tormenting me. Every time I grab the fly swatter he takes off, then as soon as I get back to this post, he attacks me again. Ironically, it is a reminder that life simply goes on, and the typical, routine, ordinary things that need attention, still need attention.

Now, I’ve got to go kill this Rambo-fly-on-steroids before it drives me crazy.

Oh, before I go… it’s “Magazine Monday”. Take a moment and nominate one of your blog posts (or someone else’s) or some other article to be published in Serious.Life Magazine on November 1st. It appears we are going to be in front of a very, very large audience this month. Click here for more information about this…

You are a blessing and we can only pray that God will use us to communicate His goodness as He showers us with continued opportunities for faith. Please pray for us as we face difficult decisions about Abby's treatment, and provision for the medical and household expenses.

Brent & Michelle



Oct 17, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday - Friends

I had planned a better FFF post, but it is not to be, at least not today. Abby's doctor office called and said that she needed another blood transfusion (red cells) , her second one this week, so we will be heading back to the hospital soon. She will probably need a third transfusions in a few days, of platelets. The chemo is doing its job,but it is taking its toil.



We are looking for some great photos. with captions, for our Serious.Life and Serious.Adoption magazines. We would love to publish some of your pictures. If you would like to submit your photos click here. http://www.seriouslifemagazine.com/submit_content_forms.asp?c=photos

These are some pictures of some of Sami's friends in Ethiopia. Some of her friends are still waiting to come home, so I will have to wait to post their pictures. You can see more pictures of her friends here. http://www.riggsfamilyblog.com/2008/08/hannahs-hope-reunion.html










I began to look to picture of Abby's faster family in Guatemala, but didn't get far. We have a wonderful friendship with them and it breaks my heart that it will be years before we can safely travel to see them, because of Abby's medical needs. When we adopted Abby, they reached out to us and offered us a beautiful friendship. We miss our Guatemalan family.


Oct 15, 2008

Abby's Wish

Note: If you didn't see the "Magazine Monday" post from yesterday, check it out below...)


A friend gave Abby's name to the Make a Wish Foundation. After they contacted us, we talked to Abby about what her wish would be.

Disney World?
Mickey Mouse?
Donald Duck?
A big party?
A cruise?
Nope.

"You don't want to go to Disney world and see Cinderella?"
"Nooooooooooooo...", she replied.
"Ariel? Lion King? The Dalmatians? Wouldn't you like to see them and play with them?"
"Noooooooooo", she repeated.

"Well, what is your wish, sweetheart?"
I wish for big boobies and a bra!!!"

Can you tell she has older sisters?

Oct 13, 2008

Magazine Monday Nominations...

Many of you know that my husband publishes several magazines and is an author. One of the magazines is Serious.Life Magazine. Abby was on the first cover, and will be on the next cover with Bob Stoops. (Coach of the Oklahoma Sooners football team)

Serious.Life is really taking off fast and one of the most popular features is the FROM YOUR BLOG section where blog or website posts are chosen for publication in the magazine.

Next month it appears the readership is going to explode, and will be potentially viewed by a couple of million readers. The lead feature is about Coach Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and his work with kids in the hospital.


I know that many of you have some GREAT blog posts that are worthy of publication. Now there is a way to let us know about them... it's called Magazine Monday Nominations.

You can nominate your own content, or someone else's... as many posts or articles as you want. Each week, we'll choose an article to be published in the next issue. We'll be doing this for all of our future magazines (four currently planned).

All posts that have NOT been chosen, are still eligible for any future issue. Here's some useful links:

Don't be bashful... even if your post is not chosen for publication, you're still getting a good link on our site which a lot of people will see. If that is not enough to get you interested, then let me try the personal approach: you would be doing us a huge favor if you would take the time to nominate some good content.


Oct 11, 2008

The Voice Of Adventure: OPERATION PRINCESS HAIR BEGINS!

First, I want to thank everyone who took the time to help me come up with a costume for Abby to wear on Halloween. You are a very creative group and I loved every idea. Thank you. I plan on showing them to Abby tonight an letting the princess pick. I can't wait.

What I didn't write about yesterday, was that I was wondering what I was going to do about her hair. For the last few weeks it has been coming out fast. Abby used to love choosing hair styles and picking out bows and barrettes. Abby is sad that she is loosing her hair, and has been telling me that she wants to get "wig" hair. When I looked into applying for one, a well known charity said they didn't think that she would be approved, because of her age. I understand there is limits to how many children they can help, but I was sad for Abby.

Last night some wonderful friends, Angel and Amy Block, decided to raise money help Abby get a beautiful wig. Many, many wonderful woman have come along side them, joining together to help Abby. Thank you all so much. The list of people helping can be seen at the bottom on Angel's post at http://thevoiceofadventure.blogspot.com/2008/10/operation-princess-hair-begins.html It has been changing, so I am afraid to list the names here, because I don't want to leave anyone off. We want thank everyone who is helping Abby. I bawled when they told me that they were going to help Abby. Thank you all for helping our precious daughter.

I debated about posting pictures of Abby, but since they are everywhere else, I decided to go ahead and post them here too. We gave the pictures to them, with permission to post them. Brent feels that this is Abby's story. When she looks back at the blog when she is older, we want her to understand how much she has overcome and how brave she was.

Below is a post about Abby, that I copied from Angel's blog.http://thevoiceofadventure.blogspot.com Amy and Angel, thanks again for all that you are doing for Abby.

Friday, October 10, 2008

OPERATION PRINCESS HAIR BEGINS!

It's hard for me to even start this post. Already I feel a big lump forming in my throat. Someone that many of us care about is walking through a deep valley. That someone is sweet Abby....


I have serious doubts that I will get through writing this without crying..... Ok now it's too late... I am already there...with tears flowing. This is Abby. You will find her precious family at this blog address.

Abby is so many wonderful things. She is part of an amazing family. There are 7 wonderful kiddos in her family. 3 of those sweeties- including Abby came by way of adoption. Abby is a bouncing, happy, funny princess of a 3 year old....

Now she is also a dear little warrior fighting for her life. She was diagnosed with Leukemia and life suddenly took a radical turn for this amazing family. Her concerns of which princess dress she should wear have turned to whether she will get poked or be able to keep her food down today.

This is sweet Abby right now....

These are the battle scars she has right now in her fight against cancer...

Just one of the MANY things she has been forced to give up is her GORGEOUS princess hair and it makes her very sad.... What is it like to be the mommy that has to tell your 3 year old that she has to take medicine that will give her horrible sores, make her throw up constantly, and cause her to lose her hair? What is that like? What is it like to watch tears slide down your sweet baby's cheeks even in her sleep cause that's how much it hurts.

THIS is not OK with me. If I could I would make this go away. If I could I would change this- I wish there was a way. I know there are so many of us who wish that. We CAN'T MAKE IT GO AWAY! We just can't.

What we can do is give Abby back her princess hair. It's expensive and not something this family needs to worry about during this stressful financial time of paying for medicine and gas and hospital bills. We can not make this all go away but we can give Abby back her hair and make her smile.

SOOOOOO TODAY WE BEGIN....

OPERATION PRINCESS HAIR!

This is your mission, should you choose to accept it...

1. I want us to buy sweet Abby one of these-
http://www.hatswithhair.com/

It's called a pony sport. It costs $228. It's made with real human hair. It's very comfortable and can be worn with any baseball type cap that Abby prefers.

After visiting with her mommy we feel this would be very comfortable and fun for everyday use at home and the hospital.

2. We will flood Abby and the other kiddos in the family with care packages that let her and her family know they are loved. If you feel you would like to send Abby or her family a present please e-mail me at angelweir@gmail.com


We can all send Abby fun presents AND ALL SEND an ADORABLE BASEBALL CAP to wear with her new hair. Then everytime she is having a hard day her momma can bust out a new care package to give her something to smile about.

3. We are also going to buy Abby a custom made wig! Check it out here....

http://www.celebritystylewigs.com/shop/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=493

I am so excited about this! It is going to be custom made to look a lot like her hair did before she needed to start chemo. So when Abby wants to dress up nice and look like the Abby she remembers she will have this. This wig will cost about $450. It is made of real hair and created just for her little head.

4. If there are donations exceeding the needed amount for the princess hair we will invite the family to use this money to help with whatever extra expenses they are facing during this difficult time.

It's hard for me to fathom what this family is facing. I want to do whatever I can to support them.

They are full of faith and strong. Cancer FEARS this little fighter! Let's do whatever we can to love and walk with this family during this time. I can't begin to imagine what they are facing but I PRAY that people would be there for me if we ever did walk this path.

TO HELP ABBY GET HER PRINCESS HAIR YOU JUST NEED TO CLICK ON THE PAY PAL BUTTON ON THE TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER THAT SAYS "OPERATION PRINCESS HAIR."

IF YOU WANT TO SEND ABBY A CARE PACKAGE INCLUDING A CUTSIE NEW BASEBALL CAP PLEASE E-MAIL ME AT angelweir@gmail.com

Thank you from the BOTTOM of my little ol' Texas heart for taking care of a little girl named Abby. What we do matters. What we do makes life better or worse for those around us EVERY SINGLE DAY. Let's take time to stop and care. Hugs, Angel

PS If you would like to spread the word on your blog PLEASE do it!! Feel free to take this whole post or part of it. Then please link your blog to mine so everyone can see how many people are loving and praying for Abby.