Boy, I thought we had a lot of toys last week . . . These kids have made out like bandits. And they are thoroughly enjoying it. A little proof for you:

The above stash came from the family of a cancer survivor who provides presents to those kids who are in-patient at Christmas. We obviously weren’t but our children sure benefitted from the fact that we almost were!

Christmas Eve at the Eyres’.  We tried desperately to get one single photo where every one was looking at the camera, smiling . . . and not picking their nose!  No luck.

New mittens all around.

Christmas morning: the much-anticipated chain saw and leaf blower.

Well done, Santa.

On our way to both our Christmas Eve and Christmas evening events, Austin fell asleep for overdue and much-needed naps.  So we arrived with him snoozing in our arms and everybody tiptoed around and said, “Oh, is he feeling so awful? Is he lethargic?  Does he wish he could get up and play with the other kids?” And Mark and I were like, “No, this is just an afternoon nap!  A regular kid sleeping soon to be a regular kid playing.”

And that regular kid playing he became. At Mark’s parents’ last night, he raced around being tickled by Grandpa and then designated himself as the pusher of his cousins in the Lazy-Boy-cum-Tilt-a-Whirl chair. Like nothing had ever happened. Like nothing in the world is the matter.

And the results of the kidney function test he had on Wednesday? Normal. The low end of normal but normal nonetheless. Is that just nuts? Normal kidney function. Man, am I glad we didn’t take that thing out. Chemo and radiation are aggressive enough; add dialysis to the mix and you have the ultimate axis of evil.

So, we’re here, enjoying the last of our normal time.  We’re getting ready, both practically and psychologically. But mostly, we’ve been just hanging out, opening and assembling a truly obscene amount of toys. We have a lot planned for tomorrow and then it begins. The onslaught. The assault.

I asked Austin the other day if he was sad he had to go back to the hospital and he looked at me like I was crazy. “No,” he said like Duh, mom. I do expect that to change once he learns how he bad he’ll feel in there. But we’ll take his good attitude for now.

And as I was putting Braedan to bed tonight, we were talking about the coming months. (He’s learned to say, right at that moment I’m about to leave his room, “Wait, I want to talk about cancer. Can we please talk about Austin’s cancer?” Not exactly a request I can turn down, that smart smart boy.) I was telling him how hard it would be for all of us because the medicines we’ll give to Austin are going to make him feel so awful. And he said, all matter-of-fact, all big brown eyes, “Well, if the medicine is going to make him feel so yucky and is going to be so awful, but it”ll get rid of his cancer forever, then I vote for the medicine!”

Did I mention he was a smart smart boy?