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Call of the wild

If Peter’s departure on Sunday turned the day into a Lifetime for Women movie, then today’s photo shoot with Flashes of Hope was most definitely a Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom episode…something about the “crazed reaction of beasts when thrown into a new element”.

Holy cow.

Yesterday was melancholy, there were many tears as Pete prepared to leave. He was dragging his feet and getting out of the house as slow as humanly possible, but none of us wanted to see him go, so there wasn’t a lot of fight. Rachael spent the afternoon auditioning as a professional wailer, her heart broken by daddy leaving. Peyton was so tired that her reaction happened after she woke up from her nap and realized that daddy really had left. Nathaniel did well, trying to keep the girls’ spirits up and helping me get some things done around the house.

I woke up this morning to find two little bodies in bed with me, both girls curled up at my side, I guess taking advantage of the missing dad-body. The kids got off to school without a hitch and I’m happy to report that Rachael let me know as soon as she got into the car that she “didn’t cry tears all day”.

Tonight, the kids and I went to a taping for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We, and lots of our fellow Leukemia families, got to eat Olive Garden food (as they are the sponsor for the Pennies for Pasta program), get made up by Aveda Salons and have our family photos taken by the Flashes of Hope crew….again. We were lucky enough to have the chance to do this once before through our clinic, but we got to do it again and it was nice because Peyton has changed tremendously since that last set of photos.

You may have noticed that I generally take a lot of photos, I try to take at least a few pictures every day. My kids are natural born hams, they love to kick it up for the camera. One on one, getting a picture is pretty easy…in a group…imagine if you gave a herd of buffalo a case each of Red Bull and then let them loose in an ice skating rink…that’s really the best description of how the kids act when you try to get them all in one shot together. I hope at least one shot of the 4 of us is decent, and I know they got a ton of wonderful pictures of Peyton alone.

The purpose of the night was for each family to tape a segment of a video that will be used to kick off the Pennies for Pasta program. This is where schools nationwide will raise money through change drives, and the highest donating school in an area will be treated to a catered Olive Garden dinner. Sweet! It seems appropriate that Peyton should be doing an Olive Garden fundraiser, right?

So, after the photo fiasco, I decided that only Peyton and I would go into the taping session. I had things to say, a speech mentally prepared…I was going to say lots of things that would make it clear to kids how important their work was, how they were going to be able to help lots of kids with cancer, what a huge difference they would make in the world.

However, Rachael and a few of her goofy friends were standing outside the window of the taping room and they were jumping up and down, making funny faces, and flapping chicken arms. Of course, Peyton had to join in on the arm-flapping.

Can you picture it? I’m trying to talk seriously and heartfelt into a video camera about cancer and here’s my daughter, sitting on my lap, flapping her arms up and down like a chicken on acid. I totally lost my train of thought, I couldn’t concentrate on what I was supposed to say…I actually said “Peyton was diagnosed on July 13, 1996”…..1996!!! Nathaniel wasn’t born until 1998…interesting huh? I had to start all over again because my brain was in complete shutdown mode. I hope the kids see my portion of the video and think “wow, that poor kid with cancer has a seriously wacky mom, maybe we’d better raise some money so we can get her some psychiatric help.” My coherent message became a jumbled garble of words to the effect of “cancer…bad…help….kids…yeah.”

The week is gearing up for some seriously busy times. Tomorrow we have our Little Tales day, but with a Peyton-twist as they will be bringing in a cake to celebrate her birthday…again. We’ll have done the birthday thing so many times by the time the girl actually turns 4, she’s going to think she’s a one person Mardi Gras.

Wednesday is Peyton’s actual birthday, feel free to send cards or email her a fun card to Anissa(dot)Mayhew(at)gmail.com. You can send a physical card to

Peyton Mayhew
c/o the Children’s Cancer Center
4901 West Cypress Street
Tampa, FL 33611

For news:

1. Remember to keep the kids battling their diseases in your faithful prayers. So many are struggling with relapses, there are newly diagnosed every day. Extra prayers for Mathew Gliddon, Justin Jones, Justin Gaudineer, Sydney Sims, Jessica Rose Kohut, Matt Ermish, oh the list goes on and on, but you get the idea.

2. Keep your holiday shopping in mind with the Sydlet party coming up on the 14th. Those of you local to the area are welcome to come and shop for yourself or gift someone special in your life. Think about ordering a batch of cookies from the Band of Parents for someone you love and giving kids with the cancer Neuroblastoma a chance for a fair fight against cancer.

3. Jennifer Rivera had her Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, benefiting the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. She didn’t quite meet her financial goals, but she did touch a lot of hearts, and she and the vendors are planning a second event, potentially in the summer. I just praise God for hearts like hers, those who aren’t personally touched, but feel compelled to give anyway.

4. We all have that relative, friend or co-worker that we are planning to gift this holiday season, but have no idea what to get them. Consider making a donation in their honor to a great charity. Just a few charities that you can chose from are the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the Children’s Cancer Center, the Loneliest Road Campaign, the Band of Parents, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the “Let’s buy Pete a 95 inch Plasma TV fund”….ok, so a big no on the TV thing, but the rest of these groups are tremendous charities who help so many and are always in need of contributions to keep their programs going.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

Enjoy these pictures of Saturday night’s bday festivities

1 Comment on “Call of the wild”

  1. #1 Alayna
    on Dec 4th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    :TONGUE I totally hear you on the picture thing! Joey is 18 months old, and I have totally not even tried to get a picture of all 4 of them – just the thought makes me break out in hives! I only have 1 picture of the first 3 together – that was enough – really, who needs professional pictures? Sure, they look great framed, but they make me sweat and cry and rip my hair out – and then I have to PAY for that privelege? I don't think so. We're praying for you as you single-mom it! Seriously, seriously praying. Hang in there!