Tag Archives: victoria

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Sorry for my long absence.  This has been a busy bunch of months for us, with lots of doctor visits and tests for me, along with lots of fun and activities for our whole family.

Here are a few ways to make some memories this week….

1.  Drape some blankets over a clothesline, tree, tent poles or other props in the back yard and make some impromptu forts.  Stock the insides with some fun books, games, snacks, a flashlight, whatever, and see what fun the kids dream up to have in their new fun space.

2.  Waste a box of birthday candles on repeated wishes.  You join in too!

3.  Make up a batch of homemade playdough (white) and then hide different colors inside.  Poke a hole in the middle and add a little bit of food coloring (we like the paste food coloring sold for cake decorating because it’s so intense and comes in lots of colors).  Encourage kids to knead their balls of playdough and watch as they discover there’s more to it than it first appeared!  You can also do color mixing this way (make yellow and add blue to the center of one and red to another, for instance).

4.  Write something random and silly halfway down the toilet paper roll and then roll it back up again.

5.  Get together with friends and take wacky photos around town.

6.  Make a vision board for the new school year together.  Gather up a bunch of old magazines, sheets of posterboard and scissors and glue.  Have your children cut out words and pictures that represent things they want for the new year, then glue them onto the board.  Encourage them to be optimistic and to dream big!

7.  Make fizzy cupcakes.  Bake and frost cupcakes and then sprinkle them with Pop Rocks.  We usually avoid junky stuff like that but every once in a while it’s pretty fun to have really crazy treats.

8.  Challenge the kids to make each other laugh as much as possible.  Try for all out belly laughs, snorts and the type of giggles where you can’t catch your breath.  If you can, catch it on tape to make you all laugh all over again later.

9.  Go on a joking spree!  Write out corny jokes on small pieces of paper and leave them for folks to find– on counters, in bathroom stalls, you name it.

10. Throw a dinner party just for your family.  Put out the good china and some delicious appetizers, set the table grandly and dress the part.  Put on some music, light some candles and take your time enjoying your own company together.

And with that, I’m off to tend to an injured boy, snuggle with a small girl, hang out with some bigger kids, figure out lunch, work on a family video message for a certain teenager and clean like crazy.  Or at least a bit of that…  We’ll see how it goes!

Have a magical week!

4 Comments

Filed under Ways to make today magical

A Happy Update

Victoria at 15, Photo by Carmela Rose (awesome BFF)

Victoria at 15, Photo by Carmela Rose (awesome BFF)

I just had to pop in for a minute and report a happy little update on Victoria, who had her 18 month recheck this week with her oncologist/surgeon.

He says there is absolutely no sign of the cancer recurring and he is 99% sure that she is cancer-free.  He’ll continue to monitor her, but he says he feels really positive about her prognosis.

Now that’s pretty magical news, I tell ya.  🙂

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under happy stuff

A Little Update

Thank you for all your kind words about Victoria.  It’s meant a lot to our family.

I thought I’d post a little update on how she’s doing but I’m not sure I ever posted much information to begin with so here’s a super short recap:

Victoria had surgery on May 2nd to remove a lump that had been below her ear for over a year.  A doctor and specialist had told us that it was “nothing” but we finally pushed for it to be removed and another doctor agreed it was best since it was growing larger.  The surgery was a parotidectomy, since the lump was sitting on top of her parotid (salivary) gland. 

She had a difficult recovery, with a lot of pain and pretty severe swelling on the side of her face.  At her two week recheck, the doctor informed us that a biopsy had revealed a rare type of cancer of the parotid gland instead of the benign cyst he was expecting.  He said he was optimistic that it had all been removed, though. 

Last week, we went to an oncologist who specializes in cancers of the ear, nose and throat who told us that the surgeon had removed the cyst in a way that was dangerous since he hadn’t known it was cancerous (basically, you want to take extra all around and “ink” it to help determine if there is more anywhere and be sure you got it all).  She also palpitated the site to see how Victoria was healing. 

Within about an hour of the appointment, Victoria was in a lot of pain and by that evening she was in excruciating pain, sobbing and shaking with a high fever.  We rushed her to the emergency room, where they gave her large doses of pain medicines and IV fluids to no relief.  She spent the night in the hospital and in the morning we rushed her back to Sioux Falls to the oncologist’s office.  Victoria’s oncologist was now in Aruba, so another specialist saw her and immediately admitted her to the pediatric ward of the local hospital.  She had a severe infection where she’d had the surgery (it’s likely the infected area burst and spread during the palpitations the day before).  They did emergency surgery that night to deal with the infection, and she was released from the hospital on Sunday.

The good news is that she’s healing very well from this surgery and she’s in much less pain.  She had her stitches removed yesterday and the surgeon told us he looked at the pathology report from the initial surgery and the cancer does seem to have been removed well (there were clear margins all around, meaning that the extra that they want was there).  She will have a special type of CT scan in three months to look for more cancer.

Victoria is still on antibiotics and pain medication, but she’s getting back to her usual self.  She’s pretty weak and things like chewing still cause her pain, but her spirits are much better.

(If you’d like to send her a card or pick-me-up, you can at:  Victoria Bayer, PO Box 304, Westbrook MN 56183)

The cancer is a very rare type and it tends to be very slow growing, which is good news.  Victoria’s surgeon has another young patient who had the same type of parotid cancer and has been doing well for two years.  We’re optimistic right now about the cancer, the surgery, the infection and her medical team.

Meanwhile, every other member of our family has been sick this month too.  We’ve had coughs, colds, flus, an eye infection, a respiratory infection, fevers, stomach pains, allergies, sore throats, headaches, lost voices and general exhaustion.  We all finally seem to be getting better now that the worst of the crises are over.  We have high hopes for June!

I’ll be back soon.  Thanks again for all your sweet comments, thoughts, prayers, letters and words of support.  🙂

~Alicia

 

9 Comments

Filed under the big stuff

A Smallish Break

Some of you may know that our daughter Victoria was back in the hospital this week.  She had a couple of very scary days with a lot of pain and another surgery, but she’s back home again now.  We are in limbo with her cancer diagnosis (the latest news is now cautiously optimistic), but her most urgent medical needs have all been met and we’re getting her the best care we can.

This has been a rough month.

Right now I’m focusing all of my energies on taking care of my kiddos and getting our lives back in healthy, happy places all around.

I’ll be checking in off and on, but I’m taking a smallish break from A Magical Childhood while focusing on family.

I’ll be back soon.

Kiss your babies, count your blessings, and don’t forget to add a little magic to the day.

~Alicia

21 Comments

Filed under the big stuff

No Scowling!

I love this picture that Victoria took!

She calls it “No Scowling” even though it was really meant as a notice about not skateboarding.

photo by Victoria Bayer

I think I may print it and frame it as a little reminder for all of us!   🙂

3 Comments

Filed under happy stuff

A Little Picture and Poem by Victoria

Presents have boxes
Presents have bows
You won’t get a present
If you bite my toes

 

Happy Thursday!


4 Comments

Filed under happy stuff

Crazy Hat Girl

Victoria has been in the Wilder Pageant for 6 years now.  Every summer, she dresses up in an old fashioned dress, pinafore, braids and bonnet, and helps reenact life from the time when the Ingalls Family lived nearby.

Until this year.

This year, she is wearing an old fashioned dress, pinafore, braids and… this hat.

She wasn’t supposed to.  Her dad brought it as a possible costume change since he plays two characters, and she seized it and wore it for fun during dress rehearsal.  The director told her to go ahead and wear it, much to her delight.

This came as a surprise to many of the other bonnet-clad girls, who repeatedly asked her if she was really going to wear that hat.  She would tell them yes, sometimes they’d give her a look, and that would be the end of it.

Except for one girl.  This girl (whom I’ll call Pageant Girl) just could not get over the fact that Victoria was really, truly going to wear that hat in the Wilder Pageant.  She asked Victoria about it repeatedly.

The conversations went like this…

Pageant girl:  You’re not really gonna wear that hat, are you?

Victoria:  Yes

Pageant girl:  But you can’t wear that hat!

Victoria:  But the director said I could.

and later…

Pageant girl:  You’re not really wearing that hat though, are you?

Then the next day, after the first performance, when Victoria did in fact wear the hat…

Pageant girl:  Why are you wearing that hat?

Victoria:  Because the director told me to.

and later…

Pageant girl:  Why are you wearing that hat?

Victoria:  Because I want to.

and later…

Pageant girl:  Why are you wearing that hat?

Victoria:  Because it’s so awesome.

Pageant girl:  But it’s not awesome!  It’s weird!  And it doesn’t look good on you!

Victoria says, “We were next to The Bench of Teenagers and they all stood up and said things like It’s okay and It’s a cool hat and Hey, she looks fine.”

But still, later on…

Pageant girl:  That hat looks so weird.

Victoria:  Thanks.

Pageant girl:  I feel sorry for you, because there’s no way I’d wear that hat!

Victoria:  (Jumping onto a bench)  I feel sorry for you because you’re not daring enough to!

I have grown to love that crazy hat — and my kid for wearing it.  🙂


12 Comments

Filed under happy stuff

Opening Night

littlehouse

Some of you may know that we live near Walnut Grove.  Yep, that Walnut Grove.  Some of you may also know that my husband and daughters have been acting in Walnut Grove’s Wilder Pageant for 6 years now.

Every summer, June evenings are consumed with rehearsals for Anna, Victoria and Daryl.  Then July comes and weekends are consumed with the performances.

Tonight is opening night.  It is just past dark, so the show just began.  The grassy hillside near Plum Creek will be crowded with hundreds, sometimes well over a thousand people, some in reserved seats and others in folding chairs and on blankets.  Children will laugh and chase each other on the hills until the music starts and they excitedly catch sight of a horse drawn wagon off in the distance behind the trees.

Then “Older Laura” will come out and start to tell her story, about how it is that the Ingalls Family arrived in this little town.  And for nearly two hours, families will go back in time as they watch dances, schoolroom lessons, a grasshopper plague, a raging fire, a church’s construction, a girl’s blindness, comedy, tragedy and more.

The boys and I went Wednesday for dress rehearsal and got to see this year’s show.  I always choke up at certain scenes, and some just make me smile.  I took a billion pictures, too.

Here’s a few images from the banks of Plum Creek…

Backstage…

Almost time…

And it begins…

Break a leg, my sweeties.

8 Comments

Filed under happy stuff

Beauty in Parking Lots

Victoria has a new (to her) camera and has been itching to go to a greenhouse with it.  The other day she saw one in the parking lot of the grocery store and she ducked in for 10 minutes of snapping while I picked up goodies for lunch.

My sweetie came back a few minutes later with a memory card full of fabulous photos.  She gave me permission to share some here…

Aren’t they wonderful?

She has a photograph in this month’s issue of New Moon Girls magazine, too.

If you haven’t introduced your kids to photography, I highly recommend it.  Even inexpensive digital cameras can do some pretty amazing things these days.   Jack and Anna also love to take photographs, and I love to see their pictures when we download them later.

Victoria  has decided that she wants to be a freelance photographer and children’s book editor (and adopt 8 daughters and live on a farm near the ocean!).  I think she’s off to a good start.  🙂

9 Comments

Filed under happy stuff

A Visit to Antarctica

Okay, it wasn’t really Antarctica, but it sure seemed like it!

Sometimes you need a little sunshine, a change of scenery and a delightful child or two to put your insides right again.

I was feeling pretty horrible the other day because of the recent child abuse tragedy. I wrote articles and researched more than I felt I could bear and then I hist post for the last time of the afternoon and asked the kids who wanted to go on a walk with me.

Two fabulous girls said yes and off we went.

Anna brought a walking stick that she collected at Lake Superior last fall. During the whole trip, she kept a running dialog about its magical properties and an imaginary world she made up as we went.

It drove Victoria crazy.

Finally, we got to the end of the world. Or the end of the street, anyway, which ends in a cornfield. It also happens to be where the snowplows have pushed all the nearby snow, creating a pretty cool place!

Anna used her trusty stick to climb the side of it and triumphantly surveyed her domain.

Victoria is never one to take the easy way, so she decided to run up the side of it.

There was a lot of falling down.

She even got this close.  It’s very hard to grab onto snow!

Then finally, triumph!

Sort of.

Once the girls were finally on solid ground, they talked me into climbing up and joining them.  What another world it was!  The girls raced and ran and explored and we had a blast.

(See how the girls are standing right on top of the snow?  It is actually pretty deep but they are light on their feet and didn’t usually sink in, unlike their mama! Note to self:  eat less chocolate!)

Then we climbed back over and slid down into the real world again.  Even me.

I believe we have to do all we can to make the world a better place.  But I also believe we have to play and imagine and take time out to go explore Antarctica sometimes.

I also believe in lots of hot cocoa.

4 Comments

Filed under happy stuff