Monday, December 8, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Davis Family

Going Green

We have decided to go green this year and save on paper and ink for our Holiday Newsletter. If you still want a paper copy, you can download the printable version by clicking on the link on the side (Coming soon! Keep checking back!). Otherwise here is the blog version which has a little more detail since I'm not confined to less space!
Our Losses

We were saddened by the losses of two special family members this year. Tom's Grandmother Davis, Teresa passed away shortly after Christmas last year at the age of 95. Her funeral was touching and memorable. Here is a photo of the girls with their distant cousin, Ridley at the wake.

In October, Tom's Great-Aunt and Godmother Millicent Lynch passed away at the age of 86. She was a sweet lady who was still independent. This is a photo that Kylie took of her during the girls' last visit with her last spring.
Our Trips

We ended 2007 with a trip to New York City and then onto Carlisle, PA to visit Tom's brother Steve and his family. We had a blast in NYC visiting the American Girl Doll store for shopping and brunch, seeing the Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and had many adventures aboard the subway.

We enjoyed Christmas at Steve's with many hours of playing Wii and much laid back, fun family time - sharing our traditions and learning new ones. Here's a family photo of the whole clan and then one of the cousins together.

In July we traveled to Vermont to visit friends and attend the Vermont Brew Fest. Along the way we enjoyed visiting Ben and Jerry's, the ECHO aquarium and Sherborne Farm.

August found me and the girls in Kansas for our annual trip. They love spending time with their cousin Alex. We visited the farm, the arboretum and hung out with him at his house and kiddie pool. My dad was thankfully feeling pretty well during this visit and was able to enjoy time with us.

I went back to Kansas on my own for 8 days at Thanksgiving time due to my dad's medical setbacks. This was a tough time for all of us.

Tom's Surprise

Yes, it's true, Tom is now 40! I (along with his parents' help) threw him a big surprise bash. But the biggest surprise was the fact that his buddies from college came into town (from Florida and Vermont) to celebrate with him. A good time was had by all.

He continues to try to keep up with his running as much as possible and volunteers at the races when his schedule allows. The business is still busy as usual and keeping steady. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it's not affected by the rough economy. He has created a new blog that looks spectacular! If you go to his blog at you can click on Videos to see him in action. You'll see the whole family if you click on the BIO section.

Kelli's Corner

I continue to keep a busy schedule with working per diem as an OT and in Tom's office as much as I can around Kylie's half day kindergarten schedule. I also continue to be a Brownie leader and Sunday School teacher and this year started a small Daisy troop for Kylie. I stay active with my group of friends and continue to write when I have the time, but mostly enjoy reading, catching up with friends on facebook and blogging.

I had an increase in swallowing problems this year and went in for my esophagus to be stretched a few months ago. The doctor found 3 rings in my esophagus that were causing some of the issues and after a biopsy also found eosiniphilic esophagitis (an allergy in the esophagus). These two issues combined were really causing some problems. I am now on an inhaler to help keep the allergy at bay. It really seems to help.

Melanie's Corner

As always Melanie is enjoying school and all her activities. She is now in 3rd grade and her favorite subject is social studies. She is making good grades and continues to enjoy piano lessons, Brownies and has traded in gymnastics classes for a dance class. She will be in the same recital this year as Kylie. This year's show will be Alice In Wonderland. Melanie has two dances she will be a part of and has to do a cartwheel on stage. Eek!

Melanie also enjoys drama. She participated in a drama class in the spring in which she performed as the Big Bad Wolf. Over the summer, she had a blast in a two week drama camp and is lucky to have a teacher this year who happens to be the drama teacher for the upper grades. They do several Reader's Theater performances throughout the year and her teacher is was very proud of how much Melanie came out of her shell for the first performance.

The Chiari diagnosis that she received at the end of last year has been debated among several doctors. Basically she does have a herniation of her brain stem of about 3 mm. The technical definition of Chiari is 5 mm, so some doctors don't consider it an issue (it's a debated subject). Also, the MRI of her spine indicated tethered cord (which would require surgery if it was there), but on further review by doctors it is now another "grey" area. It has been frustrating getting one diagnosis by one doctor, only to have another doctor dispute it a few months later. But, nonetheless, she is doing great. She is being seen by a terrific GI doctor (locally, thank goodness) and is managing very well on her medication. She continues to have painful leg cramps once in awhile but with a little Tylenol, she is able to get past them. We are relieved surgery is not necessary, but we will continue to monitor her closely for other symptoms.

Kylie's Corner

Kylie is really enjoying kindergarten and has made several new friends. She seems so grown up, getting on that big bus every day. She was a little Tinkerbell in this year's recital and is looking forward to doing a tap routine this year. She enjoys being a Daisy Girl Scout and is getting ready to sell cookies for the first time!

She has also found a new activity she enjoys - cheerleading! She's so cute as the little flyer for her team and loves the social aspect of being with that group of girls. She continues to get speech therapy at school for articulation, but sometimes I wonder if she really needs it! She certainly has a lot to say! She is full of energy, spirit and zest as well as a stubborn streak a mile long (must get that from her dad!). Her teacher says she is extremely quiet and well behaved in school. . ..huh???

Jayhawk's Corner

Poor Jayhawk has never had a spot in our newsletter due to space restrictions. But this year I thought we should let him have a say too. He wants everyone to know that he is now 10 1/2 years old, is a little greyer and a little lumpier than he was last year. He took a 2 hour trip one day and we all got worried about him and even went out in our PJs to go look for him. When he came back he was wet and sore. . .could barely walk. . .and wasn't talking about where he had been. He still loves to swim, play fetch and go for hikes. Although now after any activity he has to take an arthritis pill if he wants to climb the stairs sometime that week.

Over the summer he went to doggie camp with Melanie and actually took 1st place in the dog show at the end of the week. We all thought that was hilarious since he is about the worst behaved dog there is. The instructors said it was because Melanie had to work a little harder to keep him in line and she did a great job.

Health in the family

My dad is currently struggling with his cancer diagnosis. If you remember from last year's newsletter, he was diagnosed with stage 4 bile duct cancer after gall bladder surgery in October of 2007. He underwent chemo from January to October of this year and was going along fine until his tumor markers and symptoms suddenly increased. At that time he had to go for surgery again to remove a bowel obstruction. After surgery he suffered from many complications including sepsis that was difficult to treat. He spent 21 days in the ICU and that is when I made the trip out there. Just last week he was discharged to a rehab facility where he is very anxious to go home, but continues to have some medical issues keeping him from getting the therapy he needs. He has yet to see the oncologist again to see if she will continue with the chemo once he has recovered. It's a long tough road, but he is a fighter! Keep him in your prayers!!!!

Mom has done well after her Chiari decompression surgery last year and hasn't had any further major complications.

Tom's father continues to do well in remission from his cancer, but struggles with his own swallowing problems from the radiation he received in his throat. He has had his throat stretched several times to be able to swallow anything more than soup. It was great to spend Easter with him when he was able to eat a real ham dinner for the first time in a long time.

Tom's step-dad, Dean underwent a knee replacement in November and he has recovered very well from it.

Hope this finds everyone healthy, happy and prosperous this Christmas season! Here's some photos from our fall photo session - compliments of Northern Images Photography!

Love, Kelli, Tom, Melanie, Kylie and Jayhawk!