Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Card 2006

I know I have many online friends who I could not send Christmas Cards to.. so I hope you don't mind me sharing it here with you. Due to everything going on these got sent out right after Christmas, but before the New Year. Enjoy!

A very joyous holiday season to all,
For The Pickerts, this year has been quite the roller coaster... we are hoping that 2007 brings more of the even keel of a lazy river.
Unfortunately we lost our Father/Father-in-law/Bapa Gar this year. Nothing could prepare us for the shock and sadness of losing him so unexpectedly this past May. Our house seems so much quieter without him here. Nick felt so grateful for his love and support throughout the years and knows he is watching us from above. Jeffrey and Samantha still talk about Bapa all the time and wish he could come back to us.
The end of last year brought another new family member. Right before Christmas we got another dog. This time a Shih Poo (Shih Tzu/Poodle) named “Maggie”. For those of you that remember our letter last year, yes, we did get two dogs in a two week span. Max is now full grown and hangs out with Mollie all day long. And we also kept Gar’s dog Scooter, so we now have a zoo!
Just over five years after Nick’s burn we had to visit the HCMC burn unit again in November. Jeffrey was scalded by boiling water while Melissa was cooking spaghetti. He is healing well, and as of today only has one spot on his shoulder that needs to heal.

Earlier this year Nick made changes to his business; one of the biggest noticeable changes was the addition of his new partner, *** ; the other big change was the name to “Pepperberry Gardens”. He has had the biggest year yet, which has kept him quite busy, and is expecting to have a bigger year next year.
To help Nick grow, Melissa quit her job to stay at home with the kids in June. This has been great for her because she does not have to get up at 6:30am anymore. And it has been nice for the family because there is less rushing to do things, whether it was getting places or getting things done around the house (though if you ask Nick, Melissa could still get more done around the house, sad part is that she agrees!). The kids seem to enjoy her being home all day long. And as soon as Melissa left her job she joined the local MOMS club and has gotten to partake in many fun activities (including some various kid free nights out).
If Nick and Melissa are not at home (or work) they are spending time at their church, Our Lady of the Lake. Nick joined the Knights of Columbus this past year as well as started back up as a Catechist. He also is involved in the Landscape Committee and Ushers and will say Yes to anything they call for! Melissa is in the choir and joined the M.O.M.S. group. They are part of T.O.O.L (marriage group) and were a part of the Alpha group that met earlier this year. Jeffrey is four and growing and getting smarter every day. His speech has gotten so much better in the past couple years with help of a therapist at school. He is enjoying his second year of preschool at Hilltop and is looking forward to riding the bus to kindergarten next year. We also celebrated him becoming completely potty trained this year.
Samantha is three and is always trying to keep up with her older brother. We have never had to worry about her speech skills; she always has something to say. She is enjoying having the house “to herself” when Jeff is in school. Next stop for her is potty training and then preschool next year.
We learned first hand this year how scissors and children’s hair do not mix when Jeffrey gave Samantha a haircut (and took a nick out of his own hair). It took 6 months for her hair to grow back and only recently was she ok with going to a hair salon.

A big event for the Pickert men this year was Nick taking Jeffrey pheasant hunting for the first time at the ***** Farm. They (along with Mollie and Max – who had his first time out as well) enjoyed spending time out there and even shot some birds!! One of Jeffrey’s favorite parts was getting to hunt with his Great Uncle ****and still talks about him often.
Nick and Melissa just returned from their first trip together since having kids. While our friends, The ****, graciously watched our children, we enjoyed the 70s and 80s in December that the Florida Keys had to offer. We stayed at a beautiful condo in Islamorada, and have to admit some of our favorite parts of the trip were when we were laying out soaking up the sun. Due to it being “winter” there (which involves 70s and windy/partly cloudy!) we did not do all the outdoor activities we wanted to enjoy. We did take a day trip down to Key West and found that to be quite the experience.
You can always keep updated with the Pickert Family activities by checking out Melissa’s blog at And you can check out the Pepperberry Gardens website at
We hope and pray that next year brings better things to come. We also want to say a special prayer for Melissa’s Dad who is going through treatments for Multiple Myeloma (Cancer) and is in the hospital this holiday season. The hill seems like a tough climb but we know he is a fighter.

Merry Christmas,
Happy Hannukah,
& Happy New Year.

The Pickerts,
Nick, Melissa, Jeffrey, & Samantha

Mollie, Max, Maggie & Scooter

“Love you Dad (Bapa)”

Monday, December 18, 2006

Prayers needed for my Dad.

I need prayer warriors from everywhere to help my Dad right now. I have never been so scared (myself and for him).
About 19 years ago he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (cancer) and was doing well till earlier this year. This is what happened the past couple weeks.
A week and a half ago (Wed 12/6) they started giving him Chemo so they could do a stem cell harvest.. he got out 2 days later on Fri. He was having a home health nurse come out and give him these shots. Well this past Wed (12/13) the nurse didn't like what she saw, so Mom came home and put him in the hospital (in protective isolation). His white blood cell counts are the lowest they can be.. which makes it hard to ward of infection. On Thursday they found pnemounia. On Friday they found his kidneys were failing so he started dialysis. On Saturday he was having a hard time breathing and they found fluid on his lungs so he started on a bipap machine (like a cpap used for sleep apnea). Well they moved him up to ICU then because those nurses can handle that machine. On Sunday they said his breathing was better buy his fluid in his lungs wasn't.. they still let him go back to a "regular" room and off of the bipap. Well overnight last night/this morning they didn't like what they saw so they brought him back down to ICU and started the bipap machine.. that wasn't working so overnight he went on a ventilator.. this also means he is sedated. Mom says he is hooked up to all sorts of machines.I have been there every day since Friday and he seems to look better one time and worse the next.
So we could all use some prayers.. of course mostly for him.. but also for the loved ones in his life so they don't get sick - because if we do we cannot visit him. Also, my Uncle ans Sister are out of town and just don't know if they should fly in.
One Dr. overnight told my Mom he is a long way from dying.. I really hope he is telling the truth.
I do know my Dad doesn't want my kids to lose both their Grandfathers in one year.. so he is fighting for them.He is at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis. As of right now I think I will be going down once Jeffrey gets out of preschool this morning.
BTW... Jeffrey is looking a lot better.. just has a couple small spots on his shoulder to heal.
Plus, Nick graciously cleaned my parents house on Saturday.. and helped put together a fake tree one of Mom's coworkers is borrowing her. So her house may be in the Christmas spirit. Can't say the same for ours. We bought a Poinsetta the other day.. otherwise you wouldn't know it was Christmas at our house.
Thanks for any and all prayers.