Monday, November 4, 2013

Big Moves

Hi All,

Seems that I am just not cut out for the blog world…  Katie was much better about keeping everyone up to date, me not so much.

Well lots of things have been happening in the Renz household.  First of which I have been seeing a wonderful person for the last year.  She has two great kids, a ten year old daughter and a 4 year old son.   Our kids love playing and hanging out with each other and all three of my boys adore her.  We are planning on a March wedding on the slopes of our favorite ski area and trying to decide where we can go for our honeymoon.

Second bit of news is that we just bought a new house (well new to us house).  It is a 1924 bungalow that is just four blocks away from the current house meaning that all the kids get to stay in their current schools and we get to remain in our fantastic neighborhood.  Photos kind of make it look small but it is more than double the size of my current house and has a great family room for the kids.

I guess that's about all the news that I have to share.  Hope you all have a great holiday season and take care.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Not so Happy 20th

Hi All,

Well it was 20 years ago today that Katie and I walked down the isle together.  I was really thinking at the time that our future together would be quite a bit different, not all wishes work out.  We were both quite a bit younger and I was quite a bit lighter....

Here is another with the folks in the photo.

I guess I don't really have much else to say, other than I wish I could give my wife a hug and kiss and say Happy 20th!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Update

Hi Everyone,

Hate to say it but I haven't done a very good job of keeping everyone up to date...  Seems as though time has a way of speeding by.

We are all doing well in the Renz house, the twins are getting into reading and enjoying being able to recognize words.  Hunter is doing well in school and as always loves his math classes.  I'm working and trying to keep the house in order.

As I'm sure some of you know we had some very sad news in October with the passing of my Mother's husband Ken.  He was a fantastic man and he will be missed by all.  Mom has been here quite a bit recently and is planning on moving out to Washington in the spring.  Here is a photo from 2005 right after the twins were born.

Well I'd love to go on but I must get packing, we are all headed over to Idaho for Christmas with Katie's family.  We have several condos booked and will spend some time skiing with the boys, they have never been so I'm sure it will be an adventure!!  I'll part with a photo from Christmas 2005.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Memorial Has Arrived

Hi All,

I have been away for quite a while and I must apologize for not keeping you all in the loop.  Life is going well for all of us, the boys are doing well in school and I'm fully back into the swing of the work world.

As you know from past posts, Katie and I spent a bit of time shopping for our final resting place.  While she wanted to know where we were going to be, she didn't really feel the need to direct the arrangements of her service or the other aspects of memorials and the such.  She did however say that she really liked the idea of having a bench that folks could come and visit, and since we have such a nice quiet spot by the creek a bench was the perfect memorial.

Shortly after Katie's passing I decided to order her bench and after a long wait it finally arrived.

Take care all,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Vacation and Easter

Hi All,

Well today is Easter and the last day of my extended vacation.  I left work early on March 21st for a trip to San Francisco to see my long time friend Craig.  It had been almost 20 years since we had seen each other and just as it should be with great friends it didn't seem as any time had passed as we were able to pick up where we left off and continue the conversation.  You may think me crazy but I Dennis and I rode our motorcycles down.  All in all it was great fun but had some real wet times as well.  Nothing like pouring water out of your boots at the end of the day.

Following the trip to California I took the week off to spend Spring Break with the boys.  Katie's dad was here for a visit and it was great to see him.  The boys always like seeing Grandad and they showed their love by giving Bill their cold.  A gift that just keeps giving.

Easter has been a hit with the boys, I actually took the time to go to the store and get eggs and candy to hide so they could have an Easter egg hunt around the yard.  This isn't something that comes natural to me as Katie was always the one who did the holiday prep and I just took the photos.  Katie's mom also came up with baskets for all three boys, it was great to see her and all three boys were very happy she came.  The twins scored some paddle balls as well and they couldn't be happier.  

Here is my video from the trip with Dennis, it's 17 minutes long and contains some sophomorish humor.  Sorry Dennis and I are not super mature...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don't Pity Me

Hi All,

Well it has been a long time since I've posted anything on the blog and I must say that I am sorry.  As you might expect I have been busy as of late.  Mom is back at home, the kids are in school, work is in full swing (boy how work is in full swing!!) and we are doing well.

I've been struggling through the mundane details of life.  Cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and ironing my own work shirts.  Have to say that I hate all the above, Katie and I had a pretty good deal going.  She would stay at home taking care of the mundane details and crafting I would do the shopping, cooking, and go to work so we could pay the bills.  All that seemed to work out pretty well...

Now on to the heart of the matter, as of late I've been noticing a strange trend.  Those that I don't have daily contact with seem to interact with me in a different manner than I would expect.  I've come to notice that it is an almost universal reaction to seeing me.  From the nurses from the infusion center that I have crossed paths with, parents of kids that my boys play with, people who know my story but don't really know me, and the list goes on.  The first reaction is to tilt your head to the side and utter a "ahhhh it is good to see you", "are you doing OK?" all of which is done in a sympathetic and caring way.  This is genrally followed by "it must be so hard"...

Well, yes it is hard and yes it is good to see you too, but I don't want to be the one that people tilt their heads to and say "Ahhhh".  I know that I have suffered a terrible loss and not a minute goes by that I don't think of Katie and what the boys I and are missing, but then I always think of what Katie and I talked about.  When I was holding her crying about what we both knew was coming.  Promising her that I would go on, that I would be happy, that I would take care of our boys, that I would honor her memory.

So don't tilt your head and say "Ahhhh", just walk right up and say Isn't it a great day to be alive and wouldn't it be great if Katie was here to share it with us!!  Her wish was that the boys and I could be happy and I am doing my best to always have a smile and make sure that the boys know how much Katie and I love them and I refuse to give in to sadness and depression!!!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quick Update

Hi All,

It's been a long time since I posted anything on the Blog and I thought it was time for me to check in and let you all know that we are still here and doing OK.  The boys are doing well in school and have been in good spirits.  I have the twins in an after school program that they really seem to like and Hunter is enjoying having a little brother free time in the afternoons.

We had a great Christmas at my Mom's house in Illinois.  I decided a car trip was a great way to get out of town and have fun with the boys.  All in all we visited Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Oregon.  We had a great visit with Katie's friend Vicki in Springfield Missouri, and Katie's best friend Brenda in Palm Springs.  I had a great time driving and the boys had a pretty good time riding, we had no fights and nobody got sick (a first for us).  The only thing I have to say is I have a great group of boys and I would have had no problem getting up the morning after our trip to start over again!!

I know some of you are Facebook friends with me and I have to say I'm Sorry.  I deactivated my account yesterday, I may be back at some point in the future but to tell you the truth I kind of enjoyed my first Facebook free day!

Well that's it for today, I think I have another unpublished draft or two to post and I promise I will get back to them at some point.  Right now I am compiling Katie's blog into a single PDF document and have been thinking about converting it into an eBook format.  We shall see....

Take care,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

You never know where you'll find it

Hi all,

Just a short post to express a thought I had today when I took the boys to see a movie.  (Side note: THANKS to those who sent the great movie gift cards!!)  A while back, might have been last summer, Hunter was dead set on getting the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and his Grandma was kind enough to run out and get him the book. He devoured the book in short order and commented on how much he enjoyed it.  Now I have never read the book myself and typical of Hunter he didn't share the story line "well, it's really hard to explain".

Fast forward to today and I decide to take advantage of a weekend afternoon to grab some Subway and a movie, Hugo in 3D (my first 3D movie).  I know the movie is based on Hunter's book but not knowing anything about the story and having only seen the previews, I am pretty much unprepared for the story line which revolves around Hugo, a boy initially living with his father after having his mother pass away.... shortly followed by his father being killed in a fire...

All of which brings us to the title of today's post, you never know where you'll find it.  Looking for a nice quiet getaway we get smacked in the face with a story of a kid who after loosing his mother ends up loosing his father.  I guess it played to several of my recent emotional triggers, the real and current loss of Katie and the fear that I too could not be around for my boys.

Now, as it turns out the story has a happy ending, the movie is wonderfully done and everyone enjoyed watching it. It just brings the point, you never know where you'll find it.

Take care,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Unpublished and Untitled Draft

Hi Everybody,

Today marks the first day of being on my own.  My fantastic Mom headed for Seattle and her plane back home at 2:00 AM last night and she should be setting down in St. Louis sometime soon.  We will very much miss her and all the help she has provided.  (short side note: she found some real joy in Kaite's crafting area and went about creating some cute cards)

Now that we are home alone it will be a challenge to juggle all the aspects of life.  As some of you may know I work for the county south of our home so it is a 45 minute commute to work every morning and 45 back at home each night.  I would much love to have the hour and a half to devote to the family but I truly feel that while it is a huge waste of time it is outweighed by what we get in return.  I love our neighborhood and the feeling of community it provides.  I love our schools, Columbia Elementary where the twins are in kindergarten is only a couple of block away and Hunter is walking distance from Whatcom Middle School (newly rebuilt, just reopened this year after burning almost to the ground).  We have friends and support here and the boys love where we live.  I really don't think uprooting them would do any good in the big picture.

As you can see in the Unpublished Draft below Katie was worried if the boys would think of her.  With the twins she pops up all the time, sometimes in strange places.  Hunter's birthday seemed like kind of a big deal this year and I was feeling overly generous with the kid. For as long as I can remember he has been asking "will you get me an iPod touch?" and my answer usually goes "No, and don't ask me again or I won't let you buy one with your own money". Well I broke down and got the kid his iPod and he was truly happy and keeps saying something like "isn't this the coolest thing in the world" to which Will finally answered "No, Mom being alive would be the coolest thing in the world".

I recently sold Katie's van and replaced it with the Jeep that Katie and I spent the early summer attempting to buy (long story with upset sales staff screaming obscenities at me). The van was bumming me out as it really was Katie's car and I really didn't like driving it. Following its departure Will and Nate were walking out to the car with my Mom and one of them was heard to say "I miss the van, it reminded me of Mom".

This post was from mid August just after the first round of chemo following our break.  Katie wasn't feeling well, wasn't eating well, and was taking lots of pain medication.  Looking back I question the break and if it made her condition worse or gave us some chemo free time prior to the end.  I know there is no utility to looking back and second guessing the path we took, in the end all possible paths take us to the same location.


Dear friends,

I feel a bit discombobulated this round of chemo, like its something new yet so familiar.  I feel better that I recall, but I don't feel good either. Just a minute ago, I burst out into tear so what you ask... I have no idea.  But then, the images of my children popped into my head, especially the ones of the Nate and Will coming into my room and saying they love.  That's all they have to say while I'm lying in bed to just absolutely crush my heart.  What will they think when I might not be here to have those words said to me.  What will they think of me,  What about Hunter, will he think I left him in such a precarious time in his life.

And Kevin who will be thrust into this unknown job, family, children dilemma. It hurts me to no end to think that I will be leaving him with so much.  I know that he can handle anything, but I don't want to leave and I don't want us to be alone and apart.  It honestly makes my chest hurt.  I don't want to miss all the important things that will happen in their lives and it hurts to no end that I won't be the one that has shaped them into adulthood.  I created them and did my best in the beginning, but it won't be me there to push them into the next stage or the stage after that.  It won't be me holding their children and their grandhcildren.

And why today do I delve into this deep emotional state?   I don' know... I'm not overly depressed right now, I'm not over sick feeling, I just am.  I guess I don't want to be alone with out my family, their mine but when I'm gone they won't be anymore.

Who knows what other worldly family I may belong too, but it will still never be the same as MY family.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unpublished Draft "Chemo #10"

Hi All,

Just a quick post and the very very short unpublished draft from Katie.  This post doesn't say anything, then again it says something.  Katie always wanted something to do while she was at chemo, unfortunately the drugs usually prevented her from completing anything.  We would usually arrive at 8:00, blood work would be done, and the pre-medications would start around 9:00.  By 9:30 Katie would be fast asleep and I would leave to take care of anything I needed to do; get drugs, clean house, get something to bring back for lunch.  By the time I came back at 12:30 or so Katie would be starting to come out of the benadryl fog but then suffering from the chemo. This post is the result.

On the home front, now that we have Thanksgiving out of the way we turn to Hunter's birthday.  On December 1st he will turn 12 and we will be heading back to the bowling alley for some fun (actually we will be going on Friday).  We are taking a few of his friends and looking forward to some bad bowling, some greasy food, and lots of sugar filled drinks!!

 This will be a repeat of last year just prior to Katie's diagnosis, she was suffering through a generally unsettled stomach and waiting for the GI appointment she had scheduled for late December.  Here is a shot of Katie, Hunter, and Lisa all having a good time last birthday.  We will all miss Katie this time around.

Thanks to all that have sent Hunter cards, he has really enjoyed getting them!

And here is Katie's attempt at a post from the infusion center, all twenty three words.


Dear friends,

I'm posting from the infusion center today.  I want to hurry and get a post done before I get too sleepy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Unpublished Draft "A day is a day is a day...."

Hi All,

Well we made it through Thanksgiving and had a good time.  Katie's fantastic sister Eden came up with Justin and we had a good dinner.  I just finished a plate of totally unneeded leftovers and now I feel pretty sick...

Today marks my first trip to visit Katie.  I had gone to the post office to pick up the mail from our P.O. box on my motorcycle and when I got home I looked at Katie's Ducati, which hasn't been ridden much lately and decided that it needed a ride.  I started out without a clear goal in mind and ended up at the cemetery.  Last time I was close I was picking up the death certificate from the funeral home and the canopy was still in place from her service and it was just a bit too much so I didn't stop.  Today I walked to her grave to say hi.

Our plots sit next to a stream that travels through the cemetery and standing there listening to the wind in the trees and the water in the stream I was knew we had picked the right place.  I plan on having a bench installed for our headstones and I'm looking forward to being able to go sit and visit.

Below you will find the next in the line of Katie's unpublished drafts.  This one really hurts...


Dear friends,

Living my life by blocks of days, tests, and treatments takes a toll on my psyche.  There are good days, there are bad days, there are wonderful days, and there are awful days.  I try to spread them out so nobody feels neglected.  The funny thing is that there is really no telling (most of the time) which days might get which hat.

Today was an ok day.  I'm coming out of the extreme yuckiness of my last chemo treatment which is a good day, but it also means that I'm just tired of the fight.  I'm tired of waking up wondering how I'll feel, wondering if I roll over, will my stomach roll over too.  Wondering if anything will sound, smell, or taste ok, let alone good.

Everyone says to take it one day at a time and that is a good philosophy, but "one" days at a time add up to an awful lot of days that seem to take an awful long time.  Living in the moment is a wonderful thing, but sometimes the moment just slips by without my realizing it ticked without my hearing it.  It's a good thing there are many other moments to seize.

1 week = 7 days
10 weeks = 70 days
6 months = 182 days
1 year = 365

You get the math.  Today equals 146 days since my diagnosis and yes I'm happy to be alive, but on the other hand the days seem to add up rather slowly.  I slipped through Mother's Day and all I have to say is that there should be a Kevin day.  He did all the mothering to me and for me.  These periods that I spend in bed are periods where I just disappear from everything.  The boys get used to their Dad tucking them into bed, bathing them, cooking for them, etc. etc.  (Mind you, Kevin's done all the cooking prior, but it still adds to the list)  He helps me in and out of bed and cleans up after me... every day should be his day.

My chemo break sure went quickly.  When I headed in last Friday for treatment, it was almost like a long forgotten memory.  Unfortunately, the memory came back like a brick to the head and the routine continues on.  Blood work is as normal as normal is.  Ironically, I never have a good sense of what the results will be like.  If I feel especially bad, the results might be better than normal and vice versa.  Kevin has always said, I've never been in tune with my physical body anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Twins Turn Six

Hi All,

Just a quick note on the Twins and their birthday yesterday. The boys were excited for the day and had a fantastic time opening presents and cards. Thankfully the day was clear and sunny (although it was only 31 outside) so they were able to go out and ride their new bikes in front of the house for a while.

I want to say thank you for all the wonderful cards and gifts, it was great to open all the great cards!!

I'm going to sit down and work on the next of Katie's draft posts and see if I can't get it up in the next few days.  I know many of you have commented about how tough it must be for me to post these, but it is actually quite nice to be able to post these as I like going back and reading Katie's older posts.  It was sad to see the effect the drugs had on her and how foggy she was.  As the chemo went on and the oxicocodone use went up her writing got more and more disjointed and I had to step in and do quite a bit of editing; funny since both my spelling and punctuation suck! The draft was authored around Mothers Day, which came and went with Katie in a deep chemo fog.  We had just returned from Disneyland and she had chemo the Friday prior; she typed the post as she was coming back into the world.

Until then take care and thanks again for all the Twins cards!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Un-posted Draft "Chemo #6 and some ramblings"

Hi All,

Thank all of you for the cards and wishes these past few days.  As you know Katie's service was Monday morning.  The service was very nice and attended by many friends and family.  Thankfully the weather was not the rain that had plagued the days prior but clear and cold. I know that if Katie would have been there in a more tangible capacity she would have been very happy.

I don't know how much longer I will be posting on the bolg but I do have a few drafts that for whatever reason Katie didn't post; I have been going through them and I think that I will post most of them.  The post below was originally authored on March 10th and I remember quite clearly the reaction that she describes as I shared the same emotion and we talked quite a bit about it. You can look back to Good News! which is about the CT scan she is referring to in this post. In the end I truly think that we were unable to feel much joy since we knew that the chances were good it was to be a short term gain.

I also clearly remember a scared and saddened Katie who had just finished her google fest.  It is pretty clear just how poor your chances are of surviving a diagnosis such as hers if you sit down with google for a few minutes.  Dr Rubin had cautioned against spending too much time on google but it can be a mighty draw and one that you can't always resist.


Dear friends,

Just like my title says, today is number 6 in my unknown number of chemo treatments.  What I'm going to write about today are my emotions this past week.  They surprised me and I've been thinking about them the last few days.  They might surprise you too, but I want you to understand where I'm coming from.

I've been so touched by all your comments, your tears, your exuberant emotion that you've shared with me these past few days.  You are there to help me through the hard times and you are there to share in the good times and I absolutely know that you are all INVESTED in me, my family, and my journey.  I kind of think of you all as my raft as I ride the waves, big and small, to my next destination.

I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by your excitement over my news on Monday because for some reason I couldn't feel that excitement in my own heart and head.  NOW... stay with me here and don't gasp in shock.  I think when we left my appointment I felt more relief than anything.   I was relieve that it wasn't bad news and I was definitely glad with all the positive news we received.  I've been thinking about it of late and I think I'm emotionally stunted right now... what do you think of that terminally?  For the most part, I just don't feel those highs and lows as frequently.  The emotions are there don't get me wrong, but they pop at such random times it surprises me.

Its daunting to think that chemo may never stop.

I'm letting all of you help me ride the wave of good hope and enthusiasm for the wonderfully postivve news I was given on Monday.  It is hopeful and like I said in my earlier post it widens our horizons, but it is still so very difficult to let go of the long and unknown future for me and my family.

I know it seems crazy to have these dichotomous emotions and especailly right after such positive news was shared with us, but its just the way I've been feeling.  I have a guilty admission to share as well.  Googling can enlighten us, teach us, but it can also worry us and in some cases scare us needlessly.  I have been googling and for the most part its been to really cement some of the terms that I've heard over the past several months.

I have to be honest and let you all know that googling is depressing because the information is harsh and realistic.  I'm ok, because I'm not harsh, I'm not a quitter, and I don't let definitions and stories define me, but they are real.  They aren't misinformation or crazy ramblings.  They are about real life and real people.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hi All,

Thank you all for your warm comments and thoughts on my last post.

We are back from making arrangements for Katie's service which will be held 10:30 AM Monday November 14th at Mole's Funeral Home Bayview Chapel located at 2465 Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, Washington 98229.  I will provide a link to her obituary as one becomes available.

Take care,
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