Monday, December 28, 2009

Guest Poster


Hi! My name is Stacey and I'm Shelley's sister (Abbey's Aunt). My sister is giving me the opportunity to take over her blog for the day :). First, let me say thank you so much to you all for being an incredible support to my sister and her family as they've gone through this difficult time in their lives. I know I can speak for many when I say that watching the Colberts journey through their sweet daughter's leukemia has been both amazing and heart wrenching. They have overcome so much and their faith in God is an example to us all. Yet watching their child suffer is something that no parent should ever have to go through and seeing Shelley and Jim have to do that has been very hard. They have shared their story so openly with the world and have clung to the hope that is only found in Christ. So, first of all, thank you to you all! They have been prayed for and encouraged each step of the way and loved on by many of you. Some of you are family and friends, and others strangers, but each note, prayer, gift and word of encouragement has been so helpful to them!

Shelley and I with some of our kids. (so far we have 7 total :)

Us last Christmas (I think we need to get a more recent picture of just the 2 of us :)

I know Shelley has put a couple things on here about Versatile Dance Company and the "Praying for Abbey" show that is being done for their family. Since this is a benefit for them, I know they feel like they can't keep asking people to come or donate, so that's what I'm here to do ;)!! Since the day Abbey was diagnosed, October 2nd, 2008, people have been asking me what they can do for this family. EVERYONE wants to help when they hear of a beautiful, three year old little girl being diagnosed with cancer and then whether you know this family or meet them through this situation, you really want to do something! Yet at times I think we all feel helpless as to what to do. Well, here is your chance to be a part of this amazing story and to help.

First, if you live here and know this family whether through their blog or church or the community or in whatever way, you do not want to miss the show! The creator of this show is doing this to benefit this family and others battling leukemia. That's his vision and this isn't just a spaghetti dinner (which is wonderful too), but it is a huge amazing production that they are putting on. Not only will you be financially helping the Colberts and others dealing with leukemia, but you will get to experience a show like no other. One that is actually portraying their journey through dance! Sounds cool? It will be! And not only that, but Quest Crew (if you don't know them yet, you will never forget them after you see them perform) will also be there! Very cool!

So for those of you who live close. Let's fill up the Canton Palace Theatre on January 10th and wrap our arms around this beautiful family! Let's show them how much we care by being there that day and making it a sold out show! There are 1500 seats and we don't want one seat to be empty! Let's bless them as they've blessed so many!


So if you're thinking that you can't be there because you live far away, I have good news! You can still help :)! You can make a donation to the show, which will in turn go to the Colberts and the leukemia society. Whether you can give $5 or $500 it will all add up and will be a huge blessing to them and so many others. Please, please find it in your heart to give.

When Abbey was first diagnosed, several people approached them asking if they wanted a benefit to be done for their family. At first they were so overwhelmed with the diagnosis and were so focused on just getting her better that the very last thing on their mind was money. They would have lived in a box to be able to get her everything she needed to beat this disease. Thankfully, they do have very good insurance through Jim's job. But, there have been times in her treatment that she has been on 8 medications a day. For each medication that she has been on for the last 15 months (and will continue to be on for over another year) there is a co-pay. It adds up! They have gone through the ER countless times and each time there is a co-pay. They have traveled to and from the hospital in downtown Cleveland more times than they can remember, not to mention gas and parking. Jim has missed work to be at the hospital for Abbey's treatments and he rarely picks up overtime like he used to as their whole lives have been turned upside down. This is our chance to help!

So, if you can make it to the show, excellent! And if you can't, please donate however you feel led. If you have any questions about the show or giving or anything, please feel free to contact me. My e-mail is joeandstacey@yahoo.com I would be more than happy to talk to you about it :)!

Here's all the details about the show and/or how to donate....

When: Sunday, January 10th, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at The Canton Palace Theatre

To Benefit: The Colbert Family and The Leukemia Society

Ticket Price : $40 per person
Discount: 10 or more $35 each

Get your tickets today as there are still good seats left! Call the Canton Palace box office or purchase tickets online at www.CantonPalaceTheatre.org

And, if you can't be there, but would like to make a donation. Go to Versatile Dance Company's website at www.versatiledancecompany.com and click on the support button at the top. Mitchel will be putting all donations toward this show, "Praying for Abbey" which in turn will go to the Colberts and leukemia society.

*Versatile Dance Company is an official 501c-3 non-profit organization, therefore all ticket purchases and monetary donations are tax deductible. *

Thank you for your time and most importantly, thanks for your love and support to my dear sister and her beautiful family :)!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Promo for "Praying for Abbey" on Local News

Here's a clip of our friend Mitchel Federan founder of Versatile Dance Company on the local news promoting the "Praying for Abbey" show. Great job Mitch!!! Don't forget to pause the music in the bottom right corner before watching the clip.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas as we celebrate our Savior's birth.

For unto us a child is born. Isaiah 9:6

With Much Love,
Jim, Shelley, Jacob, Abbey, Micah & Caleb

p.s. - I promise to get back to blogging after Christmas... Been busy shopping, wrapping, baking, eating cookies, sipping hot chocolate and most importantly spending time with my five favorites! Love to you all and many blessings to you and yours. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Hi :)! Hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season :)!

I think every year Christmas gets funner as the kids get older and get more into our traditions. We enjoyed decorating all our trees this year as we have a big one in the family room and then each kid has their own personal small one in their rooms. The lights of trees just make the house so cozy and warm. I love this time of year! We had fun with Christmas pictures too! The picture of the four of them is one of the many that we took for our Christmas card picture. It was a runner up, but I'm saving the one that we are using on our card. Jim always does great getting the kids to laugh and I snap away until I get a good one. We make a good team :)!

Caleb will be 6 weeks tomorrow (see new pictures of him below :)! It is so amazing how fast that time has gone. It feels like we just had him, but then again we can't remember him not being here. He is doing great! We can see him growing already and he is giving us some smiles here and there. I have yet to catch him smiling to show all you, but I'm sure I will get a good shot of it soon. He also is starting to make some cooing sounds, which has got to be one of the most rewarding things early on.

Abbey has been feeling great since her last fever. She's had no issues since then so for that we are thankful! We went to clinic last Friday for her vincristine in her port. Her numbers looked great and she is tolerating her medications well. She just finished her 5 days of steroids (yay!!)! We had lemon chicken 2 times this week (if you've been following us a while, you know how much she loves that when she's on the steroids), but other than her increased desire for salty food and being a little more sensitive then normal, she handled them well. The picture of her with her blonde, fluffy hair is from clinic Friday. Her doctor said he thinks she gained 5 lbs. from her hair coming in so much :)!

I had a really awesome opportunity yesterday to speak at our church's mom's group. It's called MnM's (Moms Need Moms) and I shared our journey through Abbey's leukemia. I have been devoting every free minute the last couple weeks in preparing my talk (hence my lack of posts!). There were about 35 women there and it was a wonderful group of ladies! It went really well and I truly felt God's presence there. My prayer was that they would see the peace and hope that could only come from God in a situation like ours and I truly felt God use our story.




Next week is Jacob's last week of school before Christmas break. We are very much looking forward for him having two weeks off! His Christmas program is this Friday at school. On Saturday evening we have something really fun coming up too. Continental Airlines puts on a really fun night for kids with cancer. We will go to the airport Saturday evening (along with many other families with children with cancer) and we will board a plane. The plane will taxi on the runway (pretending to fly and land) and we will land in the "north pole." We then will get off the plane, meet the reindeers and go to a party where santa will come with gifts for all the kids. It is supposed to be an amazing night and we are very much looking forward to it! We are really living it up this weekend with going two places as a family :). Can't wait to get out and do some fun things. Please pray that Abbey is protected from sickness as we will be a little out of our comfort zone.

Thanks for checking in! I will be sure to get pictures of Jacob in his Christmas program and pics of our trip to the North Pole :)!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Psalm 100 :)

video

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happiness....

This picture was taken last week of the 4 of them :)

Today happiness is waking up to a little girl's big smile. A little girl who at age four has been through more than most people go through in their whole lives. Happiness is a fever breaking overnight and a normal morning at home where we aren't scrambling out the door to get to the hospital. It's spending the day with four precious gifts from God. It's knowing that a blood culture is negative. Happiness is knowing that we will all get to be together for Thanksgiving.

The last couple days have been a little crazy. As you know, Monday morning Abbey woke up with a fever. Jacob was in school, but we needed to figure out where Micah would go for the day and who could come with me, Abbey and Caleb to clinic. My sister and her littlest, Tommy came with us for the day while her mother in law watched the rest of the kids. My mom got Jacob from school so everyone was cared for. At clinic that day, her exam looked great. They were not finding any other symptoms, therefore had no cause for the fever. In a way, that's good that we weren't dealing with a cold or flu coming on, but at the same time it gets stressful as when there is nothing else going on it could end up being a bacterial infection in her blood. We were able to come home that evening after she got an antibiotic since her numbers were high.

Then, Tuesday morning Abbey again woke up with a fever. Even higher this time so we again were arranging for everyone to be taken care of. Her exam again checked out good and they couldn't find anything else going on with her. Just a high temp of over 103. Our nurse practitioner who has worked closely with us since day one started asking me about her flu vaccines. She asked when Abbey was given them and her H1N1 vaccine was given last Friday. When I told her this, she and our doctor began discussing the possibility of this fever being a side effect from the vaccine. They are feeling pretty confident that that is what was going on with Abbey these last couple days. We will never know for sure, but the important thing is that the fever has now come down and her blood cultures continue to be negative.

Yesterday was a day filled with lots of emotions. It never gets easy to wake up to Abbey burning up. The reality of this disease becomes so real again. The fears flood back and the realization that life is so not normal right now returns. My heart breaks for Abbey as trips to the clinic are now our social outings. The nurses and doctors are our friends and our day trips are not to friends houses for play dates, but trips to the 6th floor of a hospital. I've spent hours watching medications drip into her chest and had countless conversations with people about blood and numbers. Yet we continue to move forward. We find things to be thankful for in all situations. And today, we are just thankful and happy to be home and to be together.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)


Thank you for praying us through these last couple days. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!!


Monday, November 23, 2009

:(

Please pray for us this morning. Abbey woke up with a fever and we are heading out the door to go to clinic. She doesn't seem to have any other symptoms at this point (cold or flu symptoms). Please pray that her numbers would be high so we don't need to be admitted and that she wouldn't start to get really sick with anything. Thanks and we'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Benefit For Our Abbey :)


Be sure to pause the music when watching the video!
video

So here's what we're so excited about.... :)!!!

A little background first... My sister Stacey and I both grew up taking dance classes at Center Stage Dance Studio in Northfield, Ohio. Stacey went on to become an instructor there and has been teaching there for the past 17 years. Abbey also has taken classes there. She started her first class just a few weeks before she was diagnosed and just recently has been able to start taking there again. Center Stage Dance Studio is an exceptional studio with the very best talent in Northeast Ohio. Sherry Federan is the owner of the studio and we have been very close to her and her family for years. Mitchel Federan, who is her son is undoubtably the most talented person we know. Not only is he the most amazing dancer, but his choreography is outstanding. He does choreography for several different studios all over the East Coast and he has been the recipient of numerous choreography awards, both locally and nationally. He has been on Broadway several times and has worked along side many big names including Hugh Jackman, Marilu Henner and Robert Sean Leonard (from House). He also played Petey Cortland on ABC's All My Children and had a solo performance in the Nationally televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He continues to amaze us with his accomplishments.

Versatile Dance Company is Mitchel's newest project. It is a brand new non profit organization started this year in Akron, Ohio. We have been blessed that Mitchel chose our family and the leukemia society to be the beneficiaries of his first event! VDC will be making its premier on Sunday, January 10th at the Canton Palace Theatre performing "Praying For Abbey." The show will portray Abbey and our family's journey through leukemia. Each member is very talented and the show will undoubtably be amazing! Mitchels goal with VDC is to bring his audience the top performers in all areas of dance while at the same time helping charities that are important to him and his company members. Along with his incredibly talented dancers who will be performing tap, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary numbers, he is also bringing in the very best break dancers in the country, Quest Crew! Quest Crew Won "America's Best Dance Crew" Season 3 on MTV and they continue to perform all over the country. You can check them out on "So You Think You Can Dance" in late November and come see them in person on January 10th!! Following the show you can meet them and the rest of the cast :)!! So here's the details.....

When: Sunday, January 10th, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at The Canton Palace Theatre

To Benefit: The Leukemia Society and our family :) thanks!

Ticket Price : $40 per person
Discount: 10 or more $35 each

Tickets on sale now! Call the Canton Palace box office or purchase tickets online at www.CantonPalaceTheatre.org

For a truly unforgettable afternoon, come join us on January 10th! Please come support Versatile Dance Company in its premier performance as it presents "Praying For Abbey" and see some incredible dance while contributing to a great cause! Tickets are tax-deductable!!

Thank you Mitchel, VDC and all of you who will come out to support us :)!!!

Abbey and her cousin Gracie at their first dance class.... just weeks before Abbey was diagnosed.

Abbey :)

Hi :)





I am working on a post for tonight about something
that we are very excited about! God has surrounded us with so many amazing people as we've gone through this time with our Abbey and tonight we are going to share with you about a guy named Mitchel and his dance company that is doing a whole show called "Praying For Abbey." I will give you all the details later, so be checking back to see a video with details about the dance company and show. It is going to be amazing and we are so thankful and excited!

It again has been forever since I posted anything so wanted to get on really quick and put up a couple pictures from this past week. Caleb is doing great! He is so sweet and quite possibly the best baby ever. He reminds me so much of Abbey when she was a newborn. Very content and a great sleeper right from the start :). And I have been amazed at how helpful little hands can be! Abbey is like a little mommy around here and has helped in so many ways. She holds Caleb on the couch often and sits with him whenever I am busy, holding his paci in his mouth. We often hear Abbey saying things like "if he starts crying, rub his feet and legs. He likes when you do this." She gets me things when I'm feeding him and is always willing to help.

Abbey has been feeling great. We didn't have to go to clinic this past Friday which was so nice. We go back this Friday just for a numbers check and to make sure her oral chemo is the right dose. She finished up her 5 days of monthly steroids last week so we're always glad when those are done! Jake and Micah are also both doing well. Yesterday when I was picking Jacob up from school, one of the mom's of a little girl from his class came up to me and told me that her daughter is very fond of Jacob. She said that a couple nights ago her daughter drew a picture of herself and a boy. Her mom asked her what the picture was of and she said it was of her and Jacob getting married. It is now hanging in their dining room. I thought it was so cute. Jacob is really enjoying school and is growing in many ways. We're proud of him :)

Thanks for checking in! Hope you're all having a great fall and be sure to check back later to find out about the "Praying for Abbey" show :)!

Sunday, November 8, 2009













Saturday, November 7, 2009

We're Still Here :)









Hi! We're still here.... So sorry it has taken me forever to get back on to do a post. I know you all understand, but we have so many faithful followers that I know check in often and I'm sure you're wondering how things have been lately :)

Life with our little Caleb has been great! Our transition to 4 has been pretty easy so far. He is a very content baby and as long as he has a full belly, he's happy. I have lots of help this time around as Jacob and Abbey have both really stepped into the "older kid" role and they have been a huge help.
He has been sleeping great and doing 4-6 hour stretches each night. We never had a newborn sleep so good this early on so we are very thankful for that. He is eating good, and all I can say about that is that I'm really glad to be past our first week of nursing. The first week has been hard with each of our kids, but this may have been my toughest start. I'm happy to say that we are past the toe curling, 'take your breath away' part though. Have any of you mommies been there? Always the hardest part about having a newborn for me at first, but so thankful to be past it and that we both know what we're doing now :)!

The kids each are so cute with him. Jacob loves to look at him and talks about him often to me, but doesn't want to hold him much. Abbey on the other hand holds him as much as we'll let her. I put blankets all around her on the couch and prop him up in her arms. She has sat like that for hours over this past week. She loves holding his hands and kissing his cheeks. Micah too likes holding him and lightly touching his head while he's in the swing. They have all adjusted well and I don't think any of us can imagine life without him already :)

Abbey had clinic on Friday and her numbers looked great. Her ANC was over 1400. She had her monthly chemo in her port and her spinal tap and chemo in her spine which she gets every three months. She was a champ like always and handles it all so well. She is on her 5 days of steroids right now, so as always we will be glad once Wednesday is here and she is done with them. She is feeling good though and we've had no more fevers. Everyone is healthy in our home and other than Jim going to work and Jacob going to school, we are home. Trying our best to keep everyone healthy and praying for God's continued protection over our family from sickness.

Thanks so much for all your sweet comments after Caleb was born :)! And thanks for checking in :)!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Welcome to the World Caleb John :)











He's here! Our new son, Caleb John was born last night (October 29th) at 11:08 p.m. He was 8 lbs. 8 ozs. and 21 inches long. Everything went smoothly and it was a great labor and delivery.

It is wonderful to have him here and to finally get to see this sweet little boy that has already brought our family so much joy by just thinking about and talking about him. He has no idea all that our family has gone through this last year and we will have quite a story to tell him of the year that we had before he was born. He is such a blessing to us already! And, he is a blessed little guy to have Jacob, Abbey and Micah for his older siblings and Jim for his daddy! We can't wait to get home so we can be a family of 6! :)

The kids aren't able to come to the hospital to meet him as they aren't allowing any children visitors this time of year. It helped in making our decision because we weren't really sure if we would bring them up here anyways. Bringing Abbey into a germy hospital if we don't have to is something that we really weren't comfortable with. So, they will have to wait till we get home tomorrow to meet their new baby brother. Jim is with the kids today and he took some pictures of Caleb this morning before he left the hospital to show them. He said they were all really excited to see him :)

Today, Caleb is doing great. Nursing great and peeing and pooping a good amount (which always is reassuring with a new baby when nursing). He's a little warm snuggle bug! I too am feeling really good. It's always so nice to not be pregnant anymore after the last tough weeks of feeling huge and uncomfortable. And he was a big guy being smooshed in there! I'm happy for him too that he can move now :)

I also wanted to mention that one of my very closest friends, Kristina was my nurse in labor and delivery (as seen in picture with me below). We have been friends since 7th grade and we have kept in touch all these years. We had been in close contact lately as my due date approached and it worked out perfectly for her to be our nurse last night. She was so wonderful as she is very compassionate, kind, calm and knowledgeable in her field and exactly the kind of nurse that I needed. Not to mention she's fun to be around and so easy to talk to. Thank you Kristina for helping to make this experience so amazing for Jim and I.

And thank you all for praying for a safe delivery :) We are so blessed by all of you... and our new bundle of joy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Time!!!

Just got back from my appointment. I'm 4 cm dilated and doctor said I'm going to have this baby any minute :) Since my due date is Monday and he thinks I'm so close, he is going to put me in today. He will break my water around 5 o'clock which should put me in full blown labor (sorry if this is tmi..... I know all the other mommies out there would want to know though :) so I won't or shouldn't need pitocin or anything else to get things going. We are at home now, getting things squared away with the kids and getting our bags, then off we'll be. My doctor wants us there around 1:30ish so we will be leaving here around 1.

Please pray that all goes smoothly and that our little guy will be here soon with no complications. And also for strength as we leave the kids for a couple days. I always cry and this time I'm even more emotional with everything going on with Abbey. Thanks so very much and we'll keep you posted!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hi :)

No, I didn't have the baby yet :)
















Just thought I'd do a quick update (and put my favorite pics from the last few days of my little loves so you all have something to look at :). We're figuring out more things to do with the camera and loving the moments that it's capturing! I could just eat these kids up sometimes :) We got a Nikon D3000 for our blogger friend who wanted to know :)

Abbey is doing great! She has been feeling completely back to normal and bounced back quickly from her fever.

She is back on her oral chemo (she had been off it for three weeks due to her low numbers, then the fever) and she seems to be handling it well. We (or maybe just Jim and her if I'm in the hospital :) return to clinic on Friday for a number check to see how her blood looks and to make sure her numbers are handling her medications o.k.

So my doctor was wrong when he said he didn't think I'd make it to my next appointment. I go back tomorrow morning (Thursday) at 9:45a.m. I am thankful that it's all worked out this way and that I didn't get home from the hospital with Abbey and then have to leave right away to be gone again and away from the boys more. As much as I don't want to be away from home, I am VERY ready at this point to have this little boy. So ready to get to hold, smell and just love on him. Not to mention, ready to not be pregnant anymore! The kids too are excited and asking often when he is coming out.

So tomorrow we will see when the doc says. Praying for more progress. I have thought a few times that it was time to go, but each time the contractions have stopped. I have never been pregnant this long as the other three were all born at least a week early. And here I am, 4 days till my due date. Jacob was the earliest and just over 7 lbs., but Abbey and Micah were both over 8 lbs. and born early too so I am going to talk to my doc about this tomorrow.... just wondering if I go much longer, how big he will be! We shall see :)

When we go, my mom (below) will be staying here with the kids. She is "on call" with her bags packed and is ready to go right when she gets the call. Thanks so much mom! One of us will be sure to do a post when we are hospital bound :) Thanks for checking in and for all your love and support for our family! It means so very much :)