Friday, July 31, 2009

Rains, Pours, and Now... the Tsunami.

Well, folks, that's it. It's almost official. We had one vehicle left and we may be down to none.

1. "Little Blue" - The station wagon. She's done me good since 2002. I love her. She holds all four car seats. She holds my stroller and all my other junk + "the kitchen sink" that I love to pack everywhere. She sits, on my grass, unsafe to drive with a rusted motor mount, a broken 'bushing'?, and goodness knows what else wrong.

2. "The Fury" aka "The Boat" - This is the 79 Plymouth Fury complete with 8 track. Sweet ride, but didn't pass air care. There it sits, on the grass.

3. "Big Blue" - The camping-tow-the-trailer truck. Turns out, that it's not so much of a battery problem. The truck's not starting sometimes because it's not fully engaged in the 'park' position. Great. I also informed Richard that it's sounding a little rough getting into second gear. I also told Richard that it's not my fault. I definitely didn't cause this. I've been VERY gentle with the truck, as instructed by Richard. For goodness sakes, I've only driven it on the highway twice!!

I think I'm soon going to be finding out what it's like to be one of those moms who has to walk everywhere. Or worse.... take the bus... ewwwwwwwwwwww. Thank goodness there's a bus stop across the street!!! But my 3 minute trip to the rec centre will probably be 30 minutes.

Seriously. Seriously!!!! Seriously?
I don't even want to ask 'What else could go wrong?' because I surely do not want to know the answer to that question.

So, peeps. Keep your eyes peeled for us and tell us if you see a minivan or even another station wagon maybe around the age of a 1999? Maybe you know someone selling one. I'd rather buy from a friend of friend who isn't selling something 'they know' has something wrong with it, rather than off a dealer who might lie through his teeth to sell it.

Back to what's important, Richard.

He's on day 5 of his chemo. So kind of me to hit with the news of the truck as he was about to head out the door today.

He's really feeling worse now. He ended up taking that $100 pill to get rid of hiccups last night after having them for about 3 days. He wanted to save that pill until it was really really needed. And, so far, it seems to have worked. Thank goodness.

He said last night, once we had headed to bed that "This is way better than staying in the hospital", so I'm guessing that being in the comfort of his own bed with his wife, children, and mom nearby keeps him looking and acting better than he's feeling. He's acting a little bit sluggish, but still getting around. He's up and about much more than when he was in the hospital. Tomorrow is his last day of chemo, then numbers should continue to go down some more, and then head back up. I'm sure he'll still have to be back at the hospital every day or two for the following week while they check his numbers, maybe give transfusions, and check his vitals.

Food is tasting badly again now for him. He shaved his head again last night, right after I noticed that the hair was coming in dark again. I guess he wanted to shave it before he's not allowed to when he's neutropenic.

Well, that's about it. The boys are down for afternoon nap. I didn't take Dexter to swimming today and he was none to impressed. I know he loves his lessons, but man, he was ticked right off when AJ and I headed out the door without him. Dexter keeps falling asleep during his old 'morning nap' time in the truck and it causes him to wake between 5 and 6 am which is NO GOOD for anybody. So, to get him back on track, I had to leave him with Daddy and Grannie. After about 10 minutes, he forgot about us and had some fun with them. AJ did great at lessons again, even jumping off the side of the big pool into the water. One week left to do back float, front float, front glide, and front swim (assisted). We'll see. I'm not holding my breath.

So, that's our Friday. Oh my goodness, Friday. Bad bad Friday rears it's ugly head again.

Keep those eyes peeled!!!

Wish him well. Send your good healing vibes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And the Cherry On Top

I'm pretty sure that one of the summer-school-punks busted the antenna off of "Big Blue". Now I can't even listen to my sweet-a$$ am radio.

Oh poo.

When it Rains it Pours - And Then it Splashes

Seriously? Just when you think things can't get worse.

No, don't worry, he's still in remission. I'll get to the 'Richard-part' later.

The Raining
In the meantime, as you'll recall, we already have one vehicle out of commission and are on the hunt for a minivan to replace our station wagon. Since it'll be closing in on $1500 to fix the car, we figure, we can probably get something more useful with that money (what money? lol) like a minivan. If you know of someone selling a minivan, let us know!!!

So, anywho..... back to ....

The Pouring
Thank goodness it wasn't as unbearably hot today as yesterday. YIKES!! I get out of swimming. It's hot. I successfully get all three of us dried and dressed. We head the truck. We load Dex. We load AJ. We load the stroller. And......


didn't even turn over

didn't even 'click'

Jinkies!!! (and that's not what I really thought)

The truck won't turn over. Oh man. I held in those tears. I breathed a bit. I had to call Richard. Sure, he's hooked up to a bag chemo drugs, but he's my husband, and when your truck battery dies, you call your husband. He wondered if I had left on the interior light. He asked to make sure that it was off. It's been years since I've jumped a vehicle myself. I wasn't about to keep the boys belted in the hot truck waiting while I ask someone (and it's mostly ALL moms at swimming) to jump the truck. Richard says to go ahead and call BCAA. It says there's a 10 min wait time to talk to a representative!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No freaking way!!! in 10 minutes I could've walked 1/8 of the entirely uphill walk home, with only my umbrella stroller.
So, I called Richard's friend/business partner, Tarrie, and he was ready to leave work and come jumpstart the truck.

(I'm pretty sure I left the interior lights on last night. It was my first time driving "Big Blue" at night. I had never had to turn on the lights before. I pulled the light switch out and the lights came on, but I couldn't read the clock. So, I turned the knob to turn up the dash lights. I guess I turned too much. Oops. On the plus side, at least I know why the battery died.)


I gave it one more go, and for some reason, it turned over. I tried again. I tried again. And. It started.

I called Tarrie to say "Holy crap, I got it started!"

I called Richard to say "Holy crap, I got it started!"

Richard said, "You should probably head straight home and just spend the day at home."
I said, "I'm going to take my chances and go to Starbucks for my coffee first."

I don't think he liked that answer, but I got home..... after I got my coffee at the drive thru.

The Splashing
-I brought the boys home. As I said, the temperature wasn't outrageous today, so we packed our picnic lunch and all our gear and headed to the back yard to play in the pool. I'm sure glad I set up the small one this year. I don't think AJ ever stopped playing in there. Down the slide, down the slide, downt the slide. Dexter spent most of his time in the Little Tykes car, as usual.

-He's currently on day 4 of 6 days of his first round of consolidation chemo.
-Food is starting to taste like crap again.
-He's starting to feel very flu-ish.
-He's losing more hair again, and the stuff that's come in is white!!! lol. They warned that some people's hair comes back very different, like curly or straight or different colours. Poor guy. Hopefully it comes back brown in the end.
-Today is his 9am start, so he could be home as early as 2:30pm, no doubt to head straight to the cool bedroom to cool down and nap.
-He's a trooper. He's still pretty normal looking and acting, but you know he feels pretty badly.
-Oh, I almost forgot the worst part. If you recall from the first blogs after he was admitted to start his first round of chemo, he had a roomate who had the hiccups for over a week!!!! I asked the nurse if that was cosidered 'normal'. He said 'no' and said they were thinking it was all in his head.

Well, Richard got the hiccups two days ago. They continued yesterday. Richard was under the impression that it's some sort of contagious virus that is spreading through the Leukemia patients. Looks like they're going to give him something for it today.

Andrea!!! - For some great M&M meals that you dropped off yesterday AND to your daughter for the beautiful anklet she made me!
Kevin!!! - For possibly finding a good lead on a minivan through his dad!

If you like to hear things straight from the horse's mouth. ....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Soooo Hot!!

I haven't felt this hot since walking down the streets of Kuala Lumpur over 10 years ago. I can remember getting out of the shower in my hostel and wondering why I bothered to dry off. I can remember walking down the street and just breathing hot wet air. It was so gross.

Today and yesterday was so gross.

We have two air conditioners. One is in our bedroom and one is in our living room. For the past 6 or 7 summers of having a/c, I have never appreciated as much as I did this week. Ahhhh.

A/C - If you don't have an air conditioner, I don't understand how you haven't melted. Literally.

Erica and Kevin, kindly had me and the boys, as well as some friends from out of town over for a nice visit and dinner. Unfortunately, I am used to my a/c and I just plain forget how hot people's houses get. It was sooo hot. It was sooo humid.

I think it got up to 41 C today, plus the humidity which has to be near 85%. Yuck yuck yuck.

I didn't even want to leave the house today. Sadness.

Regardless, it was a really nice visit at Erica's. AJ had a blast sliding down her make-shift waterslide (a hose on the tall slide coming down from the giant play structure). Both boys would just go straight under the water and/or just get completely soaked every time. Rya and Dexter had some great fun on the little slide too.

I guess all that splashing did AJ well because he dunked his head under the water about 5 or 6 times at swimming lessons today. Eagerly, I might add. He may just pass this time. Who knows.

AJ and Makenna have been in Sea Turtle this summer. It's the first of the preschool age independent (no mommy) lessons. They come so far each time and get more and more comfortable that Jen and I just keep putting them in again and again, and then requesting the same teacher. Well, last week, after about her 5th or 6th time or so in Sea Turtle, Makenna passed into Salamander. AJ (quite a bit more timid in the water) did not make it. So, I had to decide, should I give him a break or should I put him in again just in case he passes and then they could be in Salamander together? Well, I decided to go for it. He had been getting braver and braver, and he's tall enough now to touch the bottom of the pool. So, I think this is his 5th time that he's started in Sea Turtle just this past Monday. He didn't get the same teacher, but I do really like his new teacher. And now after this water day at Auntie Erica's house, he just seems so excited about his progress.

Dexter just started his first lessons on Monday too. He's in Duck. And... he loved it. He doesn't love the backfloat, and I had expected screaming, but he LOVES leaping off the side of the pool from being seated there, and he LOVES doing the front glide (held by me of course) to try to catch the rubber duckies that we throw. Yes yes, like I said, AJ had probably been in 4 sets of lessons at least by now. Whatever. Sorry Dexy.

- He's slowly starting to feel crappy. He's getting that flu like feeling. I'm sure that driving without a/c to the hospital and back doesn't help. Norma's a trooper. She's driven in this heat 3 days in row. It can't be easy.
-So yes, things are going to starting being really crappy again for Richard. He'll start feeling worse. I think we're all really curious about how he'll do with this round. With starting healthy this time with high numbers and all, will it hit him the way the last round did? Will he lose all the rest of his hair this time? I'll sure miss the goatee and mustache.
-But, we're lucky, right? He's in remission. And yes, we live in Abbotsford and have to commute. But, Richard hears the other stories at the hospital. Like the dad who lives in Grand Forks and has to stay in Vancouver all by himself. He didn't get the week that we had to 'let it all sink in'. He was helivac'd to the VGH the night he found out! There's people from the Island that have to come to VGH, and Prince George. Before all this, I had no idea. No idea that if you have Leukemia and you live in BC, you need to go to VGH. That's the only place to go!
-Richard thanks his lucky stars that he has the type of Leukemia that he has (AML) and 'the good kind' (inversion 16), and of course, that he's in remission. Let's hope it stays that way!!!

Loving Richard today. Loving Norma. Such a really great lady. Funny, fiesty, sassy, genuine, and loving. Boy does she love her boy. And of course, I'm loving Dexter and AJ. The boys and I had a really really great day today. Just perfect really. Knock on wood. Oh yeah... I took the boys to playgroup after swimming. You know, just when I wonder if AJ's just a bit too sassy or if Dexter's a little bit mischievous, I bring them to playgroup, and am brutally reminded how awesome my kids are. I can't believe some of the 'hell on wheels' at playgroup. Namely the ones who moms or nannies just sit there and do nothing while their kid pummels another one or runs over a baby with their plasma car. Aye Carumba. I gave AJ and Dexter big hugs after playgroup and had a BIG talk with AJ at home about what a really great kid he is. Hmmm, maybe that's why I had such a good day with the boys.

One more thing about Dexter.
-Both of my boys have been good sleepers. But AJ, although good at bedtime, never used to ask to go to bed. Dexter does. In fact, tonight, he asked early. He was in bed at 6:50pm. He walked down there himself tonight, waving to all of us, signing sleep, and I didn't even pick him up to sing his song. He just tossed himself into bed and I sang his song there. Out like a light.

Thank yous
-Norma for driving while I stayed in the A/C.
-Richard for dealing with Leukemia.
-AJ and Dexter for being 'good boys'.
-Michelle R.- again - We just had your chicken pot pie tonight. WOW! Delicious!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another BIG Thank You

Richard wrote about our date night, but I think I forgot to!

On Friday, my sister came out to pick up the boys and take them back to my mom's place to sleep over.

Richard and I got to go out for dinner at the VERY romantic... White Spot. lol. It was delicious and of course, always amazing to go for dinner without children and just talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. Sometimes Richard gets to talk too.

Then we went to see the movie "The Hangover". I haven't laughed so hard since "Zack and Miri" and another movie, of which, I cannot remember the name.

We got home late!

We slept in. And I mean REALLY slept in. I don't think we got out of bed until 9am.

The next day, we got to laze around and do nothing. Well, I mowed the lawn and Richard may have gone to Costco. I can't really remember. I'm still delirious with the feeling of freedom. Later, we headed to my mom's. My mom went to a baby shower in Surrey that day, and so, from lunch time on, my sister (and likely my brother) were watching the boys for the rest of the day until we arrived. We had some dinner. My mom came shortly after. We all had a really nice visit. Dexter went to sleep like a dream just shortly after 7pm. We headed home close to 11pm. I tried to leave Dexter there, but my mom wasn't falling for that one!

The next morning.... AJ slept until 9am!!! Woot woot! And Dexter didn't cry when he woke. After waking around 6:40am, he spent the next 20 minutes quietly trying to open his bedroom door.

This repeated the next morning (this morning). Dexter woke around 6:30 or 6:40am and just pushed his chair to his door and quietly tried to open it. Then, it got really quiet. I said to Richard, enjoying our cuddle and sleep in time, "I sure hope he's not up on the change table playing with all of his lotions and such". When I peaked in at 7am, sure enough, he turns to the door where I'm standing, and with a 'gasp' while sitting up on the change table, he carefully puts the lotion back in it's spot, pretending that he was just 'tidying up'.

This has been Dexter's newest behaviour. It's the I'm-doing-something-I-shouldn't-and-I-know-it look and gasp. Then he just carefully puts back whatever he's using with a gentle pat, be it the cell phone, the DS, the phone, the chapstick, whatever.

This morning was Dexter's first day of swimming lessons! What's that you say? AJ had already been in many sets of lessons by this age? Yes, that's right. Typical second born, sorry Dex. He had a good time. AJ had a good time depite having a new teacher (not the one I requested). And, getting all three of us dried and dressed was not near the horrifying experience I feared it would be.

So, why am I writing this?
I wanted to say THANKS to my mom, Ken, Kim, and Paul for once again, watching the boys and allowing Richard and I some date night time before today's next round of chemo.

Richard left the house about an hour ago with Norma to head to VGH to start his next round of Chemo. Wish him luck. He's starting with high counts and healthiness this time around, so it's possible it might not be as horrible as before. He may even recover faster.

I will leave with this funny thing I often get emailed. The swimming lessons made me think of it.

Yes, parenthood changes everything. But parenthood also changes with each baby. Here are some of the ways having a second and third child differs from having your first:

Your Clothes

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

The Baby's Name

1st baby: You pour over baby-name books and practice pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favorites.
2nd baby: Someone has to name his or her kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right? It might as well be you.
3rd baby: You open a name book, close your eyes, and see where your finger points.

Preparing for the Birth

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th month.

The Layette

1st baby: You pre-wash your newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?


1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.


1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.


1st baby: Sleeps in your bedroom for the first six - eight weeks
2nd baby: Sleeps in your bedroom for the first two weeks
3rd baby: Goes right from the hospital nursery into their own room

Baby Book

1st baby: You religiously make entries every day, carefully noting the number of spit-ups and bowel movements for the first year
2nd baby: You enter a few facts each week but stop after 6 months
3rd baby: You buy the book but enter the child's name, birth weight, and length on the first page


1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.


1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home 5 times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Swallowing a coin

1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When 2nd child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for coin to pass.
3rd child: When 3rd child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Photos of My Boys

These are my boys, Alton and Dexter. Alton (AJ) is on the naughty spot. For what? I cannot remember. Dexter, loves to be 'just like' his big brother. So here, he is also looking sad in the naughty spot. For what? Nothing.
These are my boys, Alton and Dexter skateboarding on grass because that is where you can try cool tricks without wearing a helmet and without getting injured.

These are my boys, Alton and Dexter riding dumptrucks in our front yard because it's fun to ride dump trucks.

These are my boys, Alton and Dexter sharing a dumptruck ride because they're brothers and that's what brother's do.

I have a confession to make.....

If you weren't already aware of the problem.

I probably need therapy.

It used to only happen about three days a week, but now, it's every day.

I'm not talking about coffee from Starbucks.

I'm talking about the fact that.......









The following pictures are from a really awesome school playground near our house. Three playgrounds in one park, all accessible by Dexter.

Here's a bit of snacktime, watching some big kids play.

I finally have figured out how to make AJ smile for pictures. I tell him that he's not allowed to see the pictures on the back on the back of the camera unless he smiles for the picture.

Here's AJ showing Dexter how to get-r-done.

My climber.

My runner.

My other climber.

A really cool standing teeter tottery type thing. Makenna and AJ really like it.

One of the many things that spins at this park. There's also little egg cup type things that AJ could spin in all day long without getting sick like his mommy. Dexter, however.... not so much.

This thing goes around and around. Dexter's trying to push AJ around.

Cat Break!
So, Auntie Erica, brought over a little gift basket the day or day after we found out Richard had Leukaemia. Inside were some treats, including an organic sleepy time style tea. Norma has really enjoyed this tea quite a bit, but couldn't help but notice that the cats would be all over her when she drank it. Enough that when she'd rest her mug down, twice, the cats knocked it over and spilled the tea. Richard looked into the ingredients, and sure enough............
So, what drives the cats crazy, evidently, puts us humans to sleep.
I opened up a tea bag and sprinkled the contents on the floor and table. The result was just like when I give them straight up catnip. They were sniffing, rolling, and trying to snatch the bag out of my hand.

These are my very sweet sweet boys, Alton and Dexter.

These are my sweet sweet boys, Alton and Dexter with their equally sweet sweet Grannie!
They're happy she's here.

When Grand-Dan came over and was playing with AJ in AJ's room, I sent Dexter off to join them with his bottle. But he wasn't in there when I came down the hall!

Where was he?

In his room just chillin on his little chair.
This is the same chair he uses to push against the door in the morning to try to get a better grip on the doorknob to open to the door.

Here's what Dexter's been up to lately.....

Playing figurines with his brother.

Throwing balls, amongst all of his other favourite sports to play with his brother, like baseball, soccer, basketball, etc.

Helping me unload the dishwasher.
Ummmm... ewwwww.

I said 'helping'.

Yah... uh....thanks!....ewwww


Looking adorable!

Looking even more adorable.

I can't even stand how adorable he is here!

Talking on the phone, sitting in a chair. This is his favourite passtime.

For Canada Day, I just wasn't into facing the crowds at a parade and the Canada Day festivities in Abbotsford. So, instead, I took the boys to the new waterpark and playground in Langley.

Here we've just arrived.

AJ's checkin' it out.

Water gear is on.
Go play, AJ!

Hey, don't just stand there and watch! Go play!

(cue crickets chirping)
Hello? Boys? Please, go play!

The ball is lonely. He wants you to play.
Here, let me throw it over there! Fetch!

Don't be shy now. Go! They look like they don't even know how to have fun.

I literally had to force them to have fun in the waterpark. I couldn't read my book,.... sniff sniff. I had to go into the waterpark and they followed me like a mama duck and her ducklings. Uggg.

Soon, we headed to the other side when the playground is. They had a blast. This was that day I told you about, where AJ fell through the ladder and the other mom helped him. Shame.

The playground has artificial turf. And, man, does it get HOT! Too hot to touch with barefeet!

Here's what AJ's been up to.

Some more detailed drawings.

There's your picture update!