When asked our girls what they were thankful for this is what they said:

Pink car

sleepovers at grandma's

nana's house

going boating



dora and diego


mommy tickling parties

daddy giving them cartwheels

This season we are also thankful for our family being well. We want to wish you and yours a happy holiday too.

Posted via my Android mobile phone

We had a scare recently. Seems the girls both want to run away every chance they get. Perhaps is a strong sense of independence or the smell of adventure on the wind, either way it has been a little unnerving. Yesterday morning I was getting Nicole dressed and I thought to myself "it's too quiet." Those of you who are parents or have taken care of children know this eerie silence. So, I popped down stairs and the dead bolt on the door was unlocked and the door wide open.

At that moment, I became the bionic man scanning, running, leaping with one singular mission, to find my baby! Now, as an aside, some of you told of the perils of confronting a mother bear and her cub. Now I can't compare the two I but I was sure at that moment I could have run through a brick wall if I had to. I guess I was getting in touch with my feminine side :). BACK TO THE STORY. So I flew out of the door and my mind was calculating and churning like a super computer systematically exploring areas of highest. Rounding a corner I saw her. Walking down the street and of course jumping in a puddle along the way. I grabbed her and held her extra tight and gave her a kiss. I'd like to say I was OK right away but it took a good hour to calm my nerves of what could have been.

As I thought about it throughout the day, I remember when I ran away as a kid. Stick over the shoulder and some supplies wrapped up in a handkerchief as if I was going to take on the world. When my parents found me They were so afraid, the kind of afraid that has complete disregard for all social rules. See they didn't care about anything but getting me back in their arms. I think God longs to have us in his arms too. Even though He's never feels out of control, I bet His heart is heavier than we can fathom about His kids (all humanity) too.

Hello everyone! I just wanted to send out a quick message that we are doing well. Swimmingly in fact. We are in the process of rescheduling our Make A Wish, Sea World trip. In the mean time, we stumbled upon a great opportunity. We've been given tickets to go see Elmo tonight at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Through the generous gift by the Nicolas Colby Found they've given us Luxury Suite tickets to go see Elmo's Green Thumb. I know we are going to have a great time, especially since we missed our Breakfast with Elmo at Sea World. What's cute is that all week Nicole's been carrying around her Elmo doll in preparation.

Dana and I wanted to take an opportunity to communicate that we've recently felt so indebted to so many of you. Our family, friends, doctors, nurses, pastors and even donors (like Make A Wish Foundation and Nicolas Colby Fund among many others). Our fear of feeling alone in this fight with cancer has never been farther from reality. Thanks again for all of your prayers and support. We'll say hello to Elmo for ya! - The Orlando's

Some may not know but we were away for a few days but now we're finally home. It's been a tough week with 3 hospital visits, one at Stanford for 2 days. All is good now. Our friends at Dominican and Stanford pulled together and figured out a plan of attack! I love those guys!

Quick Synopsis: Docs determined Natalie did (does as of this moment) have a bacterial blood infection. This is again what they avoid at all costs. Here's the good news on a couple fronts: ... Dominican found it on accident after they stopped observing her blood samples (6 days past our first blood test). Apparently, someone lab worker was just walking by and glanced over at Natalie's blood sample and noticed something odd. Upon looking closer, they spotted a type of strep bacteria. Finding it is half the battle but seeing how one can kill it is another issue. So docs determined it was not a very robust bacteria and sent us home with some by-mouth antibiotics. They said it should be out of her blood stream in no more than 12 days!

Though we missed our Sea World trip I am glad things worked out the way they did. We could not of imagined flying to San Diego only to be admitted the entire week. We'll have do do some serious schedule changes to get back on track but we are up for the challenge! Thanks for your prayers, I had some good "God-talks" with friends and staff while we were away. Everyone is so great up there, in some ways it's like another home!

The Orlando's

You will appreciate this. Natalie’s teacher was teaching the concept of "INSIDE." Last session Anne (our amazing home school teacher) has Natalie put bug stickers "inside" the boarder of a picture of a leaf. With stickers ranging from 1-6 then she had Natalie point to a sticker with a number on it and reached "inside" a container full of tongue depressors. Natalie counts them out then put them back "inside" the container. I have really enjoyed seeing Natalie's mind reaching for these concepts. She's really getting all the creative ideas Anne brings each week.

She is already recognizing all her letters now. Anne thinks she's going to be a good reader, which is so important, especially nowa days! Natalie loves learning and we love watching her. We have no hesitation that she going to be ready for school (away from home) when that phase of our plan rolls around. Since Natalie's birthday is January, she'll not start kindergarten this September, but out plan is to begin attending away from home school in the Fall. Then transition to using the school bus! (pray for that!). .

The big news is Natalie has officially begun walking (more than scooting). It's been a few weeks now and all the success can be attributed to our amazing Physical Therapist Diane Attsat. When insurance failed to pay, she stepped up and is offering her services virtually for free. Dominick and Dana are trading her for odd jobs to cover the PT service service but, the quality of work she's accomplished, (we all agree) Natalie is getting the best end of the bargain.

Dom (Sr.) had an old tricycle put away, that use to be Dominick's when he was a little boy. He refurbished it and we're planning on introduce Natalie at her next Physical Therapy session. Last therepy session we went to the park to help her to climb. Natalie is going to be a great climber becase she has such great upper body strength (when she wants to use it). We just have to show her the advantages of being mobile, and she's getting it!!!! Tha's all for now!

Natalie Orlando

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