Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WELCOME HOME ROBDOB!

Robdob and Ashpants on March 23rd!

If I'd had a little more warning today I would have made an enormous banner with those words 'Welcome Home RobDob!' in blue and gold, no that is too cub scout--hmm, probably red and black! Robdob was a Vegas Wildcat after all! Then I would have hung it across his garage door before he got home! I'm sure 3 foot tall letters would have echoed the sentiments of his heart, "dang I'm glad to be home!" Alas I found out after the fact, which is probably okay because time may not have permitted 3 foot letters in my plan today after all! It still illustrates how excited we all are that his is totally kicking C-diff's buns and has returned home totally triumphant in this battle! (You know with a little extended 'keep c-diff down' help from antibiotics for the next month!) Triumphant all the same! 
Robdob Rocks!!!
Robert will be on a soft food diet for the next 5 days. He was very excited to eat mashed potatoes tonight instead of yogurt! He is still having some discomfort and pain in his intestines and colon, so he is loving his Loritab! Other than that he is doing much better, so well he is home early! Yeah for that!
Loves!

Monday, March 30, 2009

RobDob vs. C-diff

It is round two of Robdob vs. C-diff! Good news for our team, Robdob is racking up the points this match. It is kind of an Ultimate Fighting Gig, down and dirty is how our Robdob is fighting this time! Kicking, punching, scratching with the possibility of ear-biting! Stay tuned for all the nitty gritty fighting details!
The most amazing part is that if you could peek in through Robdob's hospital window it wouldn't look like he is doing much. It actually looks like he is sleeping all the time! He uses Jedi mind tricks (thanks to Yoda and OB-1), sleeping is a total front--keeps C-diff from knowing where the next attack will come from!
Robdob has completely immobilized the fever, and throwing up! Still a little trouble with the runs though! His appetite is coming back and he is downing yogurt like it is going out of style! He even suffered through two cans of Ensure today, Ashpants was so proud! Drink those calories man! If he keeps up all this great progress and booty-kicking they are even talking about an early release tomorrow! If not, he should be in good shape to get out on Wednesday!
Keep strengthening the force with our Jedi fighter with your good prayers! They are much appreciated! Ashpants and Robdob send their love to all!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DNA Sunday!

Derek, Dave, Kristin, Junior and Shayla Baker!

Today we bring you Ashley's oldest sister, Kristin Baker! She lives in Houston, TX with her adorable family. She is the oldest in our family! Kristin and I were born a year apart and made a great team. If my parents were away, I would play with the kids, and Kristin would make sure everything was clean! Kristin has many talents and interests: cooking, baking, organizing, scrap-booking, reading, blogging, and she also enjoys talking with friends and family on the phone to keep up on her long distance relationships! Kristin is married to Dave Baker who majored in chemical engineering and works in the oil industry. She has three children: Derek 10, Shayla, 8, Junior 2, and another little one due August 4th! Kristin took on the big adventure of homeschooling Derek and Shayla this year, and it is going really well. Kristin is a great wife, mother and sister--and just a lot of fun! Here is some fun information about her:

Kristin and Junior

What is your favorite color?

Purple
What makes you laugh?
My kids, especially Junior, the youngest.
If you had to live somewhere for the rest of your life where would it be?
On a cruise ship
What is the most attractive thing about your husband?
He is so good with kids and is willing to serve others. I love those things about him!
Which is a better pet? Dog or cat?
The best pet is none at all. Okay, I do like birds, but they can be noisy. So we currently don't have any pets.
Describe yourself in one word.
Perfectionist
What is your passion?
I love to write.
What surprises you most about your life so far?
That when I let go and allow, things happen and turn out in unexpected ways, but always better than they would have if I had maintained control of them.
Favorite holiday?
Christmas
Worst habit?
Always seeing how things could be better/ cleaner/ nicer. I don't even have to try to do this, it happens automatically, and I almost always have to say or do something about the imperfections that I see. Sometimes it is a blessing, many times a curse.
Favorite dinner food?
Herb Roasted Chicken
Favorite dessert/sweet?
Pretty much anything chocolate
Favorite book?
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls (one of many favorite books)
Most happy when...
I've had time to myself to relax and regroup.
Most embarrassing moment?
I tripped over a fire hydrant in college. I know--hard to believe. How does THAT happen? I was looking at a mountain far away or something, and as I turned around to walk, there it was! A fire hydrant in my path, and I fell--backpack and all. Thankfully there were very few, if any, witnesses to that incident. I remember doing that because up until that point, I never knew what to tell people when they asked about my most embarrassing moment. After I did that, I catalogued that experience for future use when asked that question. I guess I didn't have many embarrassing things happen to me, well at least not before I had kids. Now I have embarrassing moments almost weekly: Junior sticking his hand down my shirt, kids saying things at inopportune times, etc. Gotta love being a mom, REALLY! It has lightened me up and softened me in ways that nothing else could, and I am better for it. Much better.
If you would like to know more about their family you can check out their blog here.

*Robert was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He has C-diff again! They think that he wasn't on antibiotics long enough last time for that TKO to really work! Knocked it good and unconscious, but then it came to and started harassing Robert again! His fever has been gone since late last night and he has stopped throwing up. He is on a liquid diet to give his digestive tract and colon a break! So far he isn't that hungry and hasn't missed his food! They are putting him on antibiotics for a month this time to be sure C-diff goes down, and stays down! He is feeling better and rested a lot today!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Same old, same old--Crazy Week!

Robert was doing really well all week. Things were humming along at status quo! Robert and Ashley met with Dr. Gollard on Monday, to plan Robert's second round of chemotherapy and consolidation. That will take place in 1 1/2 to two weeks. And Dr. Gollard told Robert to keep putting on weight! He gained 3 pounds last week! So we didn't have all that much to report at first, but then things got a little interesting.
Robert threw up in the middle of the night on Thursday night. He started getting a little fever, but they were able to keep it below 100.5 (that is the not so magic number that sends Robert to the ER!) Last night they enlisted the help of Super Amanda and her EMT IV skills to give Robert a bag of fluid. He was feeling much better after that and even wanted to eat again. Unfortunately he hasn't been able to keep anything down and early this morning his fever spiked to 102.5, so Ashley and Robert are heading in to the ER! He took some ibuprofen and his fever is down below 100.5 again, but he needs some medical assistance in his fight against whatever villain is currently plaguing him!
Please remember him in your prayers! Robert was pretty bummed about heading back to the hospital, but realized he wasn't going to win this fight on his own! I will try to post later today when they know the name of said villain, and update if he gets admitted and his treatment plan!
We've had some sick kiddos around my house too, but they are doing much better--so I will keep up better on posts this week!
Loves, Janelle

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DNA Sunday

We are proud to introduce to you the fine parents of Robert! Ken and Linda Ashworth! They are such an amazing support to Robert and Ashley. Linda spends hours talking to insurance companies and working out the financial logistics for Robert's medical care, and she is always at the hospital when Ashley needs a shower break! Ken is working on fundraising, and he is at the hospital a lot, too--to support the need for 'manly stuff' like video games and sports talk. They are definitely two of RobDob's biggest fans and always have been!

Ken was born in California, but grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Linda was born on an Air Force base in Utah and grew up in Garland, UT.

Ken attended Clark High School here in Las Vegas. Linda attended Bear River High School in Garland. They both graduated from Southern Utah State College in Cedar City, Utah. Ken graduated from Pepperdine Law School in Malibu, CA.

They met at a dance in Cedar City while they were attending college there. They dated before Ken went on his mission, and were engaged for nine months before getting married on May 29, 1982.


They are the parents to six amazing, beautiful children: Robert 24, Amanda 22, Alycia 18, Ryan 15, Angelica 13, and Richmond 12. They have resided with their family in Las Vegas since Ken graduated from law school. He has his own successful law firm here in Las Vegas. Linda enjoys being a homemaker and taking care of her family.
From the left: Amanda, Anjelica, Robert, Ryan, Ashley, Richmond and Alycia!

I just couldn't resist putting in this shot to show off all of the fun and personality they have!

Linda says "I enjoy reading, walking, teaching primary, my family--watching my children participate in their various activities, swimming, surfing (when she can get up on the board), the beach, Disneyland, camping, hiking, the outdoors, water skiing and boogie boarding!" She is quite the adventurous and fun-loving mother!

Ken enjoys his family, watching his children participate in their different activities, racquetball, baseball, attending UNLV basketball and football games, surfing, Disneyland, the beach, camping and swimming.

As you can see these two people are a great pair! Through their similar interests, they have created some great vacations and family memories that will last their children a lifetime. Robert is so lucky to have such wonderful and caring parents who obviously raised him well!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Love Story!

Sorry this is late in posting!

To continue this little love story . . . Robert and Ashley spent hour upon HOURS talking on the phone for the next little bit.

Until Ashley came home for Christmas. She decided to move home at the Christmas Break. Robert and Ashley had fun spending nearly every waking moment of the holidays together. One date night, they attended Ken's employee Christmas Dinner Party and went to see King Kong afterwards. Ashley really fell asleep on Robert's shoulder!

On Christmas Eve, they attended the big Ashworth Family party and Robert was the lucky guy picked to dress up as Santa Claus. Ashley loved sitting on his lap and telling him what she wanted for Christmas. ;) At this party, Robert gave Ashley her Christmas Present! In doing so, Robert displayed his charming sense of humor... She opened a big box to find two large boxes of Kleenex inside. (Just in case she had another nose bleed! Ha ha.) She gave Robert her best "death glare," and he just laughed! He told her to open the Kleenex boxes and inside each were a t-shirt and tootsie rolls! The Ashworths thought his gift was pretty funny, and I know our family had a great laugh when we saw it, too!

On Christmas Day Robert spent time with Ashley at her house. She gave him his gifts, too! He got that sporty baseball hat and a sweatshirt! They had a great time continuing to get to know each other and each other's families over the holidays!

They walked around at the temple the night before Robert left to go to school in Missouri. He had a baseball scholarship at the College of the Ozarks. I'm pretty sure they knew they were falling in love, and it was getting pretty serious!

Ashley moved into our extra bedroom when she got back from Arizona. The day after Robert left, there was a knock at the door and these gorgeous blossoms arrived! If Ashley didn't know it before, she knew now--it was true love for the boy who sent her an amazing bunch of her absolute favorite flowers!

Then it was more talking on the phone, with Ashley back in Vegas and Robert off in Missouri!
Over the phone, they kept the romance alive until they could visit each other!


I added the last page in the book, because I love the quote Ashley put on it!

So that is the story of how RobDob and Ashpants fell in love! Someday we will have to share the story of their beautiful wedding!

*Robert is continuing to feel well. We went to Applebee's with Elyssa (our sister at BYUi) on Thursday night! Robert ate all his ribs, fries and 2/3 of a brownie sundae! His appetite is back, and we couldn't have been more proud! He still rests a lot, but feels like his energy is coming back, too!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Love Story! (Continued)

(You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them. I recommend it they are super cute and funny!)

So here's the thing about Ashley, she is incredibly sentimental--one of the things I really love about her. She makes the best gifts, and absolutely loves it when people make her amazing sentimental gifts, too. Gifts that hold memories and photographs! Here are the first few pages of the book she made Robert for their first Valentine's Day, February 14, 2006.

Okay, on with the story. When Steve and I moved to Las Vegas we found 'our house' in my parents' ward (church congregation). Of course, every Sunday we sat on the 'Squires Row!' One Sunday towards the end of the summer in 2005, Ashley was home from Arizona visiting. In the previous month, about six missionaries had returned home from their missions. During sacrament meeting I leaned over to Ashley and said, "some cute boys are getting home from their missions! Did you ever like any of them?" She scanned the chapel, checking out the RM's (Returned Missionaries) and replied, "I've always thought Robert Ashworth was cute!" Steve was sitting next to me and heard the whole thing.

Ken Ashworth was the Elder's quorum president when we moved into the ward, and his law office was on Steve's FedEx Ground route. So one day when Steve walked in with a delivery, Ken had him come back to his office for a chat! They became friends after that. Ashley was unaware of this friendship until Steve walked straight up to Ken after the sacrament meeting where Ashley divulged to me that she thought Robert was cute and spilled the beans to his father!


Ashley was mortified for the rest of church and almost went home. The funny thing is that Ken didn't even tell Robert until they got home. Robert said he knew who Ashley was, but he thought she was 2-3 years younger than he, and he wasn't sure if he was interested in her because of that. Linda broke out an old Stake directory that had children's birth years on it. Once Robert realized Ashley was only a year younger, he told his dad to get her phone number!


By the time he got her number, she had returned to Arizona, so they chatted on the phone on and off for the next couple of months. Ashley was coming home for an extended trip at Thanksgiving to have her wisdom teeth removed. They decided to go on a date sometime that weekend.


Conveniently, the Squires and Ashworths got together for a flag football game on Thanksgiving morning. Poor Ashley was mortified about having to see Robert with her huge chipmunk cheeks. We girls sat on the sidelines and said silly things to Ashley about herself and Robert the whole game. They talked for awhile after the game and made their date plans for the following night.


Robert was so sweet planning their date and took her to the Olive Garden so she could eat soup, one of the easier meals for her to consume with her sad mouth! They went bowling and back to the Ashworths to watch a movie! They had so much fun they decided to go out the following night, too!


They went to a basketball game at UNLV and made a bet about who would win. If UNLV and Ashley won, she got a back massage and if UNR and Robert won, he got a kiss. As you can see, Ashley ended up giving that kiss to Robert. It was their first kiss! Right in the middle of it, Ashley got a bloody nose! Total mortification! That didn't scare Robert off, though. In fact, he consented to come over to our house the following night for games and dessert with the whole Squires family! Very bold! Our family can be a little overwhelming the first time you hang around us, not only because of sheer size but because Brandon and Steve believe in teasing and utter embarrassment. The game Catch Phrase didn't let them down! Brandon got the word 'tissue,' and unbeknownst to Robert, Ashley had shared the whole story of the embarrassing kiss with us. So Brandon yelled out, "what Ashley needed while she and Robert were making out!" Then poor Robert got the word 'make out' and he and Ashley got ribbed again about their previous night's adventures! It was a great night!


After everyone left, Robert and Ashley took a big blanket out in our cold back yard and snuggled on the hammock talking, star gazing and saying their goodbyes as Ashley had to return to Arizona the next day! Distance would separate them, but they had lit the flame of romance, and now they were really talking! Don't worry, there's more! So come back for the next installment tomorrow!

*Things are humming along at status quo these days. Robert is feeling well, and it should stay that way till his next hospital stay and chemo round. He is even allowed out of the house these days :) as long as he avoids big crowds, or wears a mask!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Love Story!--the prequel!

Would you like to hear a love story? Of course, everyone loves a good love story. So tonight I give you the prequel, as I will call it.

Once upon a time in an early morning Seminary class across the street from Las Vegas High School there was girl, her name was Ashley Squires, and she was a freshman. There was also a boy, his name was Robert Ashworth, and he was a sophomore. They each noticed each other. Ashley stole glances at the cute boy in the back of the classroom, especially when he was sleeping. Robert noticed the cute girl with her blond hair and bright smile. All year Ashley would laugh at the hot Robert's class clown comments, and Robert thought that Ashley was pretty. Yet they never spoke, not once.

They were in the same ward and both attended church on Sunday, but they were in different Sunday school classes. Occasionally they saw each other at Mutual (church youth group) on Wednesday nights, but baseball kept Robert from going often and Ashley didn't always attend, either. And they still never spoke.

Now I would never describe either of them as particularly shy. They are both bubbly, fun and a total party to hang out with. That said, being as good looking as they both are, they didn't have to pursue the opposite sex much. Ashley always had a boyfriend with a line of interested boys behind him, and Robert would get annoyed sometimes at the quantity of girls who asked him for his phone number. So neither of them ever pursued the other. I suppose that was a good thing! Timing can be everything when it comes to love, you know!

They both grew up over the next four years, and Robert left for his mission in the Bahamas and Florida. Ashley eventually moved to Arizona to work for our Aunt Tammy Whiting who owns a Montessori school in Mesa. So how do these two love birds end up together? You'll have to return tomorrow for the first installment of the Love Story (that showcases Ashley's scrap-booking talents!). Don't you just love a story with good cliff hangers at the end of each chapter?


*Robert and Ashley met with Dr. Gollard yesterday. Robert will be returning to the hospital here in town in about two weeks. He needs to do another consolidation, chemo round before he receives a bone marrow transplant. I have had a few people ask me what consolidation is. This is my understanding--each time Robert receives chemo it kills almost all of his white blood cells. For ease of explanation lets say he has 3% left each time, when they do consolidation chemo they hope that the first 3% of white blood cells will be obliterated and the 3% left at the end of this consolidation will be good white blood cells. Ashley is still the head honcho for the "Fatten Up Robert" campaign, and it is going pretty well; he is gaining slowly but surely! His favorite food today were muffins from Mimi's Cafe!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

DNA Sunday!


Please put your hands together for the amazing and gorgeous Alycia Ashworth! She is the third child in the Ashworth bunch. Alycia turned 18 on December 3rd. She is a senior at Las Vegas High School, so watch out world! She is funny and sweet, but has one serious death glare! She and Ashley get along well and hang out pretty regularly. Those two girls enjoy shopping, eating, hanging out and making each other laugh (and anyone else around them in the process)! She is very funny in a stealthy way. She loves her big brother, Robert, to pieces! Alycia is smart and adventurous! We'll let her tell you a little more about herself in her words!

What are your favorite colors?

Red and Grey.

What makes you laugh?
Throwing poppers out the window and yelling at people (in a car)!
(I've witnessed this hilarity myself, she laughs really hard!)

If you could live anywhere for the rest of your life where would it be?

Not my house.

Her favorite TV shows are

One Tree Hill and The Office

What is your favorite possession?

My heart necklace from Jake (the boyfriend!)

What is your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving because I get to eat lots and lots of FOOD!

What is your worst habit?

Biting my nails.

What is your favorite dinner/food?

Anything from the Squires Family!
(That's my girl! I paid her to say that, haha :)

What is your favorite dessert/sweet?

Ice cream and sour skittles.

What is something you are really good at?

Eating all the ice cream!
(She's not kidding, either. Rumor has it she has consumed an entire half gallon in one sitting--more than once! Like I said--she's amazing!)

Something no one knows about you?

I'm really sweet on the inside, but I don't show how I feel.

Biggest waste of time?

Peeing.

Most happy when?

I'm with Jake.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
When I was running up the down escalator and ended up falling in front of a bunch of people in the mall.

You have to love a girl who looks this adorable in a shopping cart! Thanks Alycia!

Friday, March 13, 2009

True Love Pictures!

After Elyssa's amazing post last night (thank you Elyssa!) I thought it appropriate to post some pictures of RobDob and Ashpants! These pictures were taken in Moab, UT on Memorial Day weekend in 2006. Steve and I love off-roading in our Jeep and Ashley and Robert came with us that year. Ashley decided she loved jeepin' too, Robert--well he had a good time, but decided it is not his cup of tea! We had a great time together! We took their engagement pictures there. Here are a few from that photo shoot. I love that these pictures show how playful they are with each other, how silly they can be, and most importantly you can just see how much they really love each other. It oozes off each picture! They are such an amazing couple and I think these photos show their true love!






(Robert) "Ashley is scoring one strong specimen in this marriage deal!"

(Ashley) "Do you see my BLING? It means I'm getting married!"


I also reminisced about Robert's athletic, "chubby" days! I can't wait to see him so healthy, handsome and robust again soon! Here is to health and true love! We love you Robdob and Ashpants! And we wish true love for everyone!

*Robert is feeling great today! He hasn't had to take any pain medication today! Yeah! His appetite gets a little better each day too. Life is returning to normal for RobDob and Ashpants both, well as normal as it gets between chemo rounds. They have an appointment with Dr. Gollard on Monday, so there will be more news to post then!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

True Beauty, True Love

This is a guest post, written by me, a guest writer (logical, no?)!
To briefly introduce myself, I am yet another sister of Ashley's, the one just younger than her. My name is Elyssa Jean Squires, and I am currently studying English at BYU-Idaho.
Within my major, I had the opportunity to take a creative writing class. Needless to say, with six siblings, five of those being girls, I was provided with plenty of real-life inspiration for my stories.
The following is an excerpt from an essay I wrote about my sisters and what I learned from them. I hope you enjoy it, and see that it expresses to you the true faith and hope that Robert and Ashley both hold.


It was Ashley who taught me about fashion.

She taught me how to apply mascara, tweeze my eyebrows, and use bobby pins. She went with me when I bought make up for the first time, and picked out colors of eyeliner and foundation that looked good on me. Countless tiffs were started as a result of a shirt of hers gone missing, or my “borrowing” her shoes. Still, she guided me through the awkwardness that is puberty. From her example, I learned how to use such contraptions as eyelash curlers, straighteners, and shaving razors. She was a walking teen magazine, always ready with tips on anything style. Even when I rolled my eyes and wished I didn’t always have to hear her opinion on my outfit or hair, I always knew that she cared when she took time to notice.

Then, of course, there were the boys. For whatever reason, Ashley had been endowed with something I had not: a knack for attracting the opposite sex. She acquired her first boyfriend at fourteen, when I was only ten. Throughout the varied and numerous boys that followed, I observed closely, wishing to learn all I could.

When I was twelve, we sat on the carpeted stairs of our house, and I asked her about kissing. Was it hard? Gross? Nice? Mostly, how did you do it? The light poured though the west windows and reflected off the rich wood floors, illuminating her amused smile that would have shone even without it. With patience, she demonstrated on her hand, and had me try it out. She explained it all, laid out the mysteries of kissing. I listened intently, hanging on every word: the teacher and the pupil.

Years later, my parents, my younger sister and I walked into a hospital room. A man lay there on the bed, and Ashley sat beside him holding his hand. Her husband of a year and four months at this time, Robert had just been diagnosed with acute mylogenous leukemia. It was November, Thanksgiving time, and there they were, in the hospital. Ashley cradled his hand, careful of the IV tube, and looked at him, hair gone, pale, with dark circles under his eyes. He looked so different, not a shadow, but something approaching one.

To her, though, it was apparent that he was the most beautiful thing in the world. One could see this because that beauty was reflected in her face; she looked so lovely, glowing almost, her warmth a contrast to the cold white and steel of her surroundings.

They smiled, talked, laughed with each other. She leaned over and they kissed lightly. Their affection was so heavy, so dense, that it made everything else light. Sorrows, fears, doubts; they all floated up to the ceiling, up and away into the heavens, displaced by the love that would not allow them to stay. She looked at him, past the fear, weariness, and pain, and loved him all the more for it.

Later, on the drive home, I hunched in the back seat of the car and watched the orange streetlights pass. Tears burned down my face, half from pain, and half from awe. It wasn’t fair. They were so young, so in love. I wished with all of me that I could wipe it away as easily as I did my tears, erase all that was hard and painful. It just wasn’t right. But, as I wept, hands trembling, the image of their hands clasped tightly flashed through my mind, and I felt—no—I knew that it would be alright.

That night, Ashley and Robert taught me what I will never forget: what true beauty and true love is.

*Robert is doing well. Still a little discomfort and pain, but it is getting better all the time. He slept the day away yesterday, then posed the comment/question to Ashley, "I just don't know why I am so tired!?" Ashley smiled at him and said, "it couldn't possibly be that you are still fighting an infection, on antibiotics and pain meds, and it definitely isn't because you just finished a round of chemo!" ;) Ashley told Robert she was proud of him for listening to his body and taking care of himself, and if he needed to sleep the week away that would be okay! Robert is completely enjoying the comforts of home and Ashley's pancakes and sloppy joes! Robert is very thin and is looking forward to his appetite coming back more and more! They have an appointment with Dr. Gollard soon, and hopefully that will yield more information about his future plans! We'll keep you posted! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! With love!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Change of Perspective (Re-posted)

I originally posted this post on my blog on February 13th.

So I've been thinking a lot this past week, about a lot of things. I was feeling a little stressed, weighed down and really busy. Then a week ago I heard the news about Robert and everything changed. Why? Because my perspective changed. Suddenly the things that had seemed hard and heavy in my life didn't look like such a big deal anymore, because my husband wasn't in the hospital fighting for life! One of my favorite talks from conference this past October was Pres. Monson's talk titled Finding Joy in the Journey. My favorite quote from that talk is:

Said one well-known author: “Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend . . . when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”

I've been thinking about this quote for months now. The different meanings it has and how exactly to apply it to my life. The application has been the tricky part, because it is not something that I do. No it has to be applied to thought and emotion. I have realized this past week that this quote is simply talking about my perspective. How I choose to perceive things. Do I see life as hard? Or do I see life as Joyful? I has to be applied to my thinking, the way I see things!

I taught my laurels a lesson on Finding Joy Now this past Sunday. It was so interesting teaching it only two days after Robert going back into the hospital. I realized that no matter what our circumstances this quote is still true. Robert and Ashley are such an amazing example of finding the joy in their experiences. They laugh at the funny things Robert says when he is 'high' on pain meds, or revel in the love and support from family and friends. We really can always choose to see the joy and good in each situation in our life.

So for me, suddenly this week I felt lighter. Nothing changed. I still have the same to do list I did a week ago, in fact it is growing with fundraising things to do too! I still have the same challenges and busyness in my life. It just all looks so different to me. I've learned a little more deeply and clearly what it means to tend the secret garden of abundance in my life. I think abundance might really be rose colored glasses, of sorts anyway! And for that I am grateful!

*Robert is doing well today. He is still having some pain, but don't you worry--he was sent home with a prescription for that. His last test in the hospital showed that the C-diff was gone, but he is still an antibiotic for that too (RobDob and his doctors show now mercy for villians like C-diff, even when you get the TKO--just keep kicking the guy while he's down and make sure he stays down!) Robert is loving his solid foods. While on a liquid diet for 48 hours in the hospital he was heard to say, "no one should be made to eat only jello and popsicles!" His favorite food of the day was waffles dipped in syrup (Robdob dips all his breakfast foods, so they don't get soggy!) He is happy to be home and is resting up and taking it easy!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

DNA Sunday

Chelsa and Brandon in New York.

Tonight I have the distinct pleasure of introducing the one and only Squires Brother. Brandon is the third child in our family, and was an incredibly good sport (typically) about having six sisters. He always wanted a brother though, and we are so excited that his first child is going to be a little boy. He will show up in May and I have never seen a more enamored father to be. I can only imagine what it will be like once the peanut is actually in his arms. (He is headed for trouble. But the really good kind.) Brandon married Chelsa Gentry December 7, 2002. He is hilarious, big hearted, thoughtful, and one kickin' lawyer. Enough from me though, in his own words...
My favorite color is red.
If you had to live somewhere for the rest of your life, where would it be? Manhattan
Which is a better pet? Dog or cat? Not even close . . .Dogs for sure. Someone coined the term "catty" for obvious reasons.
What is your favorite TV show? 30ROCK
What is your passion? At my wife's request, I shan't be sharing my biggest passion on this blog. I do, however, have a passion for Constitutional issues, public policy, and politics.
What is your favorite holiday? 4th of July
What's your favorite dinner/food? Favorite dinner/food used to be 1/2 price sushi happy hour at "Dragonfly, an Asian Joint." The place was a smorgasbord of culinary ridiculousness, but the owner transformed it into part of the wildly popular Spanish tapas restaurant, "Firefly," next door when he realized he could make a few extra bucks. Now I sit at home Saturday nights and eat packing foam.
Favorite book? Non-Fiction The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Bernard Bailyn; latest interesting read: Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
"If I knew then what I know now". . . Nothing. If we could go back in time and talk to our younger selves, our younger selves would be too dumb to listen anyway.
When have you been the happiest? I'd say that, up to this point, I've been the happiest when traveling; I predict that this will soon change to being the happiest when hanging out with my baby boy, and wife.

* Robert was able to come home today. I know that he is tired, but mostly just ecstatic to be at his own house.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

C-diff is Going Down!

Robert is continuing to feel better. He had been on a liquid diet while in the hospital, but he was able to eat dinner tonight.(I am really glad he got to eat, he was reaaal tired of his clear liquids when I saw him right after lunch) Today a gastroenterologist told them the cause of his pain came from neutropenic c-diff. From my understanding while his numbers were so low during chemo, and he was on antibiotics for his infection, it allowed for the c-diff bacteria to grow in his gut. He was put on antibiotics today to clear up his c-diff.(I am hoping for a TKO on that nasty bug. Soon.) We are grateful that they are getting it taken care of, and I can't wait to cook up appetizing goodies for Robdob. First up a dish of creamed spinach. Hey it worked for Popeye!
We love you all.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Unfolding (Re-Posted)

This is Janelle, I snuck into Karalee's login, because she said I could re-post this post from her blog on here. As sisters we say share and share alike! I loved this post. It speaks volumes of Ashley and the amazing wife and support that she is to Robert. I also think it speaks to the wonderful, supportive relationship that Ashley and Karalee have always had. I don't think Karalee can remember life without her little sister around! They have always been great friends.

Ashley and I in 2002

My sister Ashley has always been my best friend. She was born one month and thirteen days after I turned two. From the first time I saw her in the hospital, I was totally enamored. We have a home video of our Grandmother trying to help me hold her, and me very adamantly telling her that "she is my baby." We spent our younger years pretty typically for sisters separated by a couple of years. We laughed, played, fought, made up, made believe, and were good friends. As we grew older though our relationship changed... It deepened and improved. As we did. We shared a room for 13 years until our older siblings had all moved out when I was 15. We were both ecstatic to have "our own space". After years of sharing it sounded so exciting to be able to decorate how we wanted, and not always have someone around. And it was exciting. We both painted and picked out bedspreads, our rooms reflected us as individuals, and they were very different. Like us. It didn't take long for some of the novelty to wear off, in fact only a night or maybe two. We still loved having our separate spaces, but at night we were so used to having the other around. We missed talking and giggling until we were too tired to keep it up and just conked out. So we still had our rooms, but we would both always sleep in one room or the other. It was around that time we became truly inseparable. It was as if moving into separate spaces made us realize how awesome our friendship was. We had SO much fun. It was the best of all worlds, we completely understood one another, we did silly and outrageous things, there was unconditional love and acceptance. It was awesome and the kind of friendship that I believe only comes around a few times in your life. It was only improved by the fact that we were sisters. The long night chats, joining together to convince our parents to let us stay out crazy late, road trips, advice, boyfriends, jobs, the complications that come with life, but always knowing that we had each other. We overcame everything together.
I truly can't imagine my life without her. For all practical purposes as long as I can remember I never was without her. As we have gotten even older our relationship continued to shift and grow through a myriad of experiences. We grew up and had to go different ways and experience life on our own. I traveled for a year while I was working, Ashley moved to Arizona to work for our aunt and find out if she wanted to train as a Montessori teacher, Todd came home and I got married. That was a particularly challenging change for us, we couldn't quite figure out how to maintain our relationship when I had a husband. Then just a few months later Ashley met Robert, and just over a year later Ashley got married too. It was so sweet to watch her knowing how wonderful being married is.
There was one thing that never changed though, no matter how far away we were or different our lives, all it took was one phone call to have the other one there to see you through it all. And there were a lot of phone calls. No great event in my life has not been shared with her.
And then there was The phone call. One Friday night while I was at home relaxing with my husband and daughter Ashley called me. She told me they were in the hospital, and Robert had just been admitted. She explained that Robert had gotten blood work and they had found leukemia. She didn't know exactly what was going to happen, but they were going to start treatment fast. Robert was very ill.
I hung up the phone shocked and speechless, as my husband asked what was going on, and tears streamed down my face. I managed to breathe out the basics, and he held me while I cried. After a while of this I wiped off my face, we loaded up our daughter, and my incredible strong and loving husband drove me to see my oldest, dearest, closest friend... my sister. I needed to be able to wrap my arms around her and see her face. She had been strong and stoic on the phone, but this I knew would have floored her. When we got to the hospital I had to leave my husband in the lobby to watch Tyler, because children were not allowed on Robert's floor. I rode up in the elevator holding my sides and wondering what I could possibly do or say to help, but knowing no matter what I just had to let her know I was there. For her. As I walked off the elevator I saw her with a few people in the lobby on that floor. She came over to talk to me, still brave and strong. Then we hugged, and the tears flowed. She admitted her fears, mostly of the unknown. And we hugged again.
After that evening I never saw Ashley cry again. Although I am sure she did sometimes in private. What I did see amazed me everyday. I saw all of the courage, bravery, loyalty, faith, hope, and unconditional love Ashley had always carried in astounding amounts grow and grow until they were three times the size.(Are you picturing the Grinch's heart? It was just like that, except hers was so big to begin with.) I was astonished every time I spoke to her to hear peace and sureness in her voice. She was Robert's rock and anchor, and without meaning to she anchored so many of us.
Well nine months later Robert's treatment was complete. He had been through four rounds of chemotherapy, and one bone marrow transplant. He was thinner and balder, but no less funny or warm. It was wonderful to watch him in the following months as he grew hair and started to look more like himself. And Ashley ever the graceful and loving wife. It was wonderful.
Then there was another phone call on Friday February 6, and as much as it felt like bad deja vu, it was also totally different. My phone rang, I looked at it and it was Ashley. I figured she was calling about the movie I said I might go to with her. I answered and said, "Hey gorgeous" Ash said "Robert is in the hospital again, they just admitted him" And then you want to know what happened?!? She put me on hold so she could answer a call from mom. It was a cruel, but necessary evil. When she came back on she very calmly explained that Robert's last batch of blood work had shown leukemic cells. They had gone to the emergency room, and had been admitted after three hours. They didn't know a lot, but they were going to start chemo again on Saturday or Sunday. We exchanged I love yous, talk to you laters, and hung up. Feeling a little stunned I told Todd. He was really concerned about how I was doing, and that was when I realized how much Ashley had taught me, as I felt nothing but peace and hope. If you would like a perfect example of why my little sister is one of my biggest heroes keep reading this blog!


Ashley I love you times infinity.

*Robert is still in the hospital. He is feeling better today than yesterday. He has been having some discomfort in his lower abdomen/groin, and they ran some tests today to find out why. The test results from one test already came back showing that he has colitis (inflammation of the intestinal wall), which is quite typical for chemo patients. He is running a low grade fever off and on. They are anticipating him being in the hospital till Sunday. He has been sleeping a lot the past 48 hours. We haven't received any more information from Dr. Gollard yet. Please keep the prayers coming! Thank you!

The news...

So far. Yesterday when Robert and Ashley went in for their appointment with Dr. Gollard, they didn't get to talk as much as they had hoped. That was because Dr. Gollard didn't think Robert was looking too well, and after talking to them for a short time instructed Robert to go to the ER. It turned out that Robert was dehydrated. He looked and felt much better after getting some I.V. fluids. They kept him overnight for observation, but they should get to go home today.

What Ashley did tell me is that Dr. G wants Robert to recover from this treatment and gain some weight back before they do another round of chemotherapy or proceed with the bone marrow transplant. He also recommended that they talk to the doctors at a transplant center to get some second opinions on who to use for a donor this time, etc.

After getting the biopsy back, they now know that all of Robert's bone marrow is his own. This means that Robert's marrow cleaned all of Amanda's marrow out and took over again. We are not sure what this all means yet as far as the transplant goes--that will depend on what the transplant specialists think they should do. Dr. Gollard was going to stop by the hospital today, and Ashley is hoping to clarify some things with him, so we will post again later. We love you all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Motto For Us All . . .

When Robert was in the hospital the very first time we all got yellow LiveStrong bracelets. While the LiveStrong slogan is to some extent for all cancer patients, the Ashworths soon discovered that almost every kind of cancer has its own slogan. Of course that corresponds with its own bracelet, color, etc. The color for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) is orange. **However there wasn't a specific slogan for it. So Ashley and Robert chose one on their own, and Linda Ashworth special ordered orange bracelets with their slogan . . .
Miracles Happen Everyday.
I have thought about this slogan many times in regards to Robert and Ashley. Some miracles are the small and simple things like not having any pain one day, or wanting to eat three square meals in a day (and enjoying them). Other times the miracles are bigger, like the fact that Robert was walking, talking and functioning when he entered the hospital the first time. His blood was so thick because of his extremely high counts of white blood cells that once they got all of his blood work back, they couldn't believe that Robert hadn't had a heart attack, let alone that he had walked into the hospital on his own. Robert was even joking with Dr. Schofield, a family friend who works at St. Rose, when he first arrived. The leukemia in Robert's bone marrow had been creating leukemic white blood cells. They are basically useless white blood cells that just take up space. His body kept making more and more of them because he needed white blood cells, but the good kind! By the time he got to the hospital that Friday night his heart was basically pumping sludge through his body. They did a process called leukophoresis, which pulled Robert's blood out of his body, spun out the bad white blood cells, and put it back in his body. They ended up with two liters of bad white blood cells within 24 hours. (That's a soda pop bottle, folks! Crazy!) He lived through it! That was a miracle! There have been so many miracles over the past 16 months--big and small. It is so true; miracles happen everyday!
I've also thought about my life. There is nothing like having a family member fighting cancer to open my eyes to the miracles that happen in my own life everyday! Sometimes they are big things like avoiding a car accident, or having a child fall and not have more than a scratch. More often they are the small, simple things. The tender mercies that occur each day that let us know that God, or our Heavenly Father as I like to call him, knows each of us. He knows who we are, what is going on in our lives, what we are facing and what we need. It is then that we receive those miracles and we realize that truly "In the Strength of the Lord I Can Do All Things." Even fighting cancer for the second time! Heavenly Father knows and loves Robert, He knows and loves me and He knows and loves you!
We just got word that we will be receiving a plaque to auction at our next online auction that reads: Miracles Happen Everyday! So visit this auction, bid often and high, and be sure to check out the next one too!

*Robert is feeling good today. He tires easily and rests often. He enjoyed pancakes and french bread pizza--courtesy of his sidekick, Ashpants! He is eating more and his appetite is slowly improving. He had a good day at home!

**Sometimes when I write posts I make things up without realizing it! :) When Ashley reads the posts she calls and corrects me. She filled me on the true origins of the slogan. I really love that this is Ashley and Robert's slogan or motto. It is so fitting of them and who they are! I think AML should adopt it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Quick Update!

Robert and Ashley are doing well. Sleeping in their own bed last night was a dream! Especially since that meant that Robert could snuggle all night! They spent the day hanging out, eating food that was homemade (and more importantly not hospital food) and they got to visit with Robert's family at their home for a little while. Robert got to see his little Daisy, with his mask on of course! Pets, infants and large crowds are still not allowed to share their cute and germified little selves with Robert! No matter how much he loves that cute little face!
They are just so excited to be home in their own space and to fatten Robert up with some good home cookin'! Robert is feeling well and truly enjoying the comforts of his bed and couch! We are pretty sure that no one would ever purchase a hospital mattress if they were sold in the store, it's definitely not a pillow top!
We are all looking forward to getting more information after they meet with Dr. Gollard on Thursday. We'll definitely keep you posted! Sorry their are no pics with this post, we hope to make it up to you really soon!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snuggle, snuggle, snuggle!

After Robert's numbers came up, and he was no longer neutropenic, he and Ashley could hang out in closer proximity. One of the first nights he said to Ashley "Come snuggle me!" She happily complied and they both fell asleep in his hospital bed. About an hour later Ashley woke up and moved to her own bed, so she could get better sleep.
Right after she moved a nurse came in to check on Robert. While she was in there Robert started to mumble in his sleep. His nurse asked if he was alright, and Ashley explained that he talks in his sleep. Finally after the nurse had left and Ash was settling back in Robert turned towards her and said "snuggle, snuggle, snuggle." After checking to make sure he wasn't actually awake Ashley had a good laugh and went to bed. I have been laughing about it ever since I heard. Robert certainly still loves to have Ashley near.
Robert got a kick out of this story the next morning when Ashley shared it with him, and he has been requesting her affection by simply saying, "snuggle, snuggle snuggle" ever since!

* Robert was discharged from the hospital today because his numbers have so greatly improved. He and Ashley are delighted to be home, and most excited to sleep in their own bed. They have an appointment with Dr. Gollard on Thursday and will discuss Robert's treatment plan. They should also get the biopsy results on that day. It is so nice to have them home. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Auction!!!

Please check out our first auction to benefit Robert here. Karalee is hosting the auction on her blog and I would like to acknowledge all of her work putting it together. There are some adorable hand made offerings, and more! All the proceeds will go to RobDob's Transplant Fund! Don't worry, we'll post again today to let you know how he is doing! Especially if he get to go home today!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

DNA Sunday!


Brittany and Ashley 2007

Today we also get the fabulous opportunity to introduce you to the super little sister of Ashpants . . . Brittany Squires. She is the youngest of the seven Squires children. She was born on New Year's Eve 1990 and we have been setting off fireworks for her ever since! She is reserved and can appear to be quiet, but she has a fun loving goofy side her friends and family can bring out in her. She is loyal, kind, talented, and intelligent. We will let her tell you a little more about herself.
My favorite color is
deep sea green.
My family and my boyfriend Brett make me laugh.
Especially Karalee; that’s why we’re friends…
My favorite TV show is
LOST
My favorite holiday is Christmas.
My worst habit is procrastinating.
My favorite dinner is steak marsala.
My favorite dessert is crème brulee. (Which she can make, by the way, and it is awesome!)
My favorite book is Ender’s Game.
I am most happy when I am surrounded by the people I love.
My favorite possession is my Rubik’s Cube.
(I know, I’m a HUGE nerd…)

Doesn't she make the perfect Alice in Wonderland? This was a completely unplanned picture. A dry ice bomb went off at our family Halloween Party and Britt was not expecting it. She really is a big nerd :) Oooh, and scroll down to meet the hottie NeutorPhil!

Introducing Neutro-Phil!

As you can imagine, now that RobDob is a superhero he runs in that social circle. Okay, running in that circle isn't quite what I mean. Due to his hospital stay he missed the Annual Superhero Ball. However, all the superheroes have welcomed him into their ranks! Spiderman and Batman sent cards. The Flash, Iron Man, Superman and The X-men have called him to wish him well in his battle. Oh, and Wonder Woman and Cat Woman sent beautiful bouquets of paper and silk flowers (cause he can't have the real thing). So he is rubbing shoulders with them from his hospital room, if you know what I mean. There is one very special superhero who has been on the short list of 'visitors' all along. He is a hardcore, kick-butt kind of a superhero! He has the skills to help Robert annihilate leukemia! He is tall, dark and handsome with burly muscles underneath his futuristic super-suit! He drives a hovercraft of the most interesting variety. And yes ladies, he is single! Without further adieu, let me introduce you to . . .

The Incredible NeutroPhil!!!



Phil has so willingly joined us here today to explain the nitty-gritty of neutropenia! Thanks Phil! Please click on any picture to see a larger version--so you can read the text.


Such a strapping, young superhero!












In Robert's case this is true. Phil gets a little help from his very own 'can of spinach' known as neupogen shots that help stimulate bone marrow growth and white bloods cell regeneration.

Phil is one awesome dude! As you can see he helps all cancer patients, those who receive treatment in and out of hospitals. Phil and about 5,000 (or was it 50,000?) of his friends have brought up Robert's blood counts. He is no longer neutropenic! In fact his numbers today are 9.6! Up from the .8 on Wednesday! Yeah for neutrophils!
Robert is feeling well physically, mentally and emotionally! He is hoping to be discharged early this week. We think it will be right after they receive his bone marrow biopsy results, and that should be Monday or Tuesday! He is very thin, but eating better these days.

P.S. I was really trying to get this post up on Saturday. So lucky you, there are two posts for Sunday! Ashley thought this would be a great way to help everyone understand neutropenia, and what we mean when his 'numbers' are coming up. We hope it helps! (I know Phil helped me!)