Monday, January 31, 2011

Watch Out Miss. T !

Can you believe it?

1. indoor shoes, check
2. back pack, check
3. paper work filled out, check

Miss. T at AJ's preschool will have to endure......


That's right! Tomorrow is Dexy's first day of preschool! Now that he's poopin in the potty, he's ready to go. It's a day, long awaited, by Dexter, and thanks to Grand-Dan, Dexter's little dream will come true!

(technically, I think Miss. T already has some brothers - a set of twins - in her class, so I'm sure she's prepared)

I'll post pics of the special day sometime tomorrow night when I'm avoiding doing my marking.

Monday, January 24, 2011

News on Richard

Last week did not go as expected (not good or bad - just not expected).

I had made the mistake of getting my hopes up which I don't normally do. I had really thought that when Richard came home last weekend, he would pretty much be home for good.

6 months of having your husband live somewhere else (give or take 1-3 weeks at a time about thrice) really gets you missing the guy. Not just missing Richard, but missing the marriage, missing 'normal' life.

Anyhow, he had headed to the lodge last Sunday night with his mom so that he wouldn't have to commute Monday morning for his appointment. His appointments were supposed to be Monday and Thursday that week.

Something happened. Not sure if I fully understood/listened. He was supposed to be getting a bone scan, I think. The hospital thought that he booked it and he thought that they booked it.

Anyhow, long story short, it resulted in him having to have appointments on Wed., Thurs., and Fri., bummer.

Richard's results came back from his bone marrow biopsy, and the results were good. No Leukemia and I'm guessing, no other bad stuff.

Richard's platelets had been low (unexplainable, but no one seems alarmed), and then, Friday, his haemoglobin was low (also unexplainable, but no one seems alarmed). He was WAY down at 82. They transfuse at 80 and lower. They decided to transfuse him that day so that he would have enough to get through until Monday.

He came home again this weekend, as I already mentioned. Norma stayed back at the lodge this time. According to Richard, she had a fun weekend planned.

Richard still headed back Sunday night again, to avoid the commute. His numbers were better today, so that was good news. Last I remember, he had a Thursday appointment scheduled once again, and I'm not sure if that's changed or not. He's going to relax today, and he said he and his mom are going for dinner tonight. He'll stay one more night at the lodge tonight, and then should be coming home.

For good?
I hope so. Of course he will still have appointments each week, but hopefully, only once or twice a week. Yes, they will still be at VGH because he needs to go to the Leukemia Bone Marrow Transplant ward (and they don't have that in Abbotsford). He needs people (the oncologist and nurses) who are familiar with and specialize in Leukemia to be checking on him regularly. They know what to look for. Plus, each Monday, that I know of, he still needs to get checked for Epstein Barr (due to the research drug), and that happens there at VGH.

I'll let you know as things progress. He's nearing Day 100 (the acute phase of the transplant recovery period).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Birthday Party and the Zoo

There's the birthday cake in the background, all set up for the kids to come to Dexter's party. That's Dexter's head at the bottom of the picture. He's inspecting the snacks all set up.

Usually, I get very theme-happy for parties and go crazy with keeping to the theme, but it was pretty low-key this year for Dexter's birthday party.

The theme was 'transportation' I guess you'd say.

I would say that the licorice and popcorn twists were the most popular part of this party.
Dexter, Rya, Madisyn

I moved the table out of the way in the living room to break the 'no toys in the living room rule' and laid out AJ's wooden Thomas track.

I set up some colouring at both little tables in the living room.

Did I mention that the kids all really liked the licorice and the popcorn twists?

In AJ's room, I set up the hot wheels loop-the-loops and on of the buckets of hot wheels.

And the Criss-Cross-Crash and Wolf Mountain up on the train table.

And of course, as always, Dexter's take-along-Thomas track was set up under his bed where the kids love to use those trains and the Disney Pixar Cars that fit perfectly on there.
Jack, Josiah, AJ

I did cake-time pretty early, within the first half hour so that it, hopefully, wouldn't ruin dinner, since the party was from 3pm-5pm.
It just looks like the regular summer-crew of kids, but inside instead of outside!
Clockwise, starting with Dexter...
Dexter, Alton, Josiah, Madisyn, Makenna, Jack, Rya, Jaxon, Emerson

Dexter's getting ready to blow out the candles.

Okay.. so...
I gave them spoons/forks for eating the cake, but told them they didn't have to use them if they didn't want to (I thought that would be tricky for the younger ones). I did give each of them paper towel AND a wet cloth for cleaning up along the way.
Here's Emerson enjoying the blue icing free-for-all.

As usual, Alton was the last one at the table, and that's with Emerson having seconds!

Oh ya, and did I mention that all the kids really liked the licorice and the popcorn twists?

Train time!

And some of them eventually ventured downstairs to the playroom. I have some of this mess and chaos on tape.

Every so often, I sat down with my coffee. It's waiting here for me, so patiently.

At about 4:30pm, in an effort to get everyone calm before they got picked up by their mommies and daddies, I called them all up to watch a bit of "Cars", have some apples/oranges/carrots, and to have some VERY watered down juice.

Madisyn, Alton, Rya, Josiah, Emerson

Emerson, Dexter, Jaxon, Makenna, Jack

And four of them remained to watch some more movie while the others went back to playing.

THANK YOU to everyone (from last week's get together and this weekend's 'friend party') for giving Dexter birthday money. I took him to Walmart tonight to pick out his own toys. He didn't get it at first. He just kept saying, "Wow, look at this, Mom! Look at this Transformer! Look at this Bakugan!" I had to explain that if he wanted something, he could bring it home today!
His choices?
Batman and Superman underwear.
Iron Man umbrella (he's wanted an umbrella like AJ's for a LONG time).
Imaginext airplane with a hook and line for 'saving' people. Oh ya, and it shoots discs.
Playskool Police Heroes type thing that folds up into a backpack.
Barricade Transformer.
Three Bakugans. (He loves these. They are like miniature Transformers to he and AJ.)

It was like Christmas all over again. Geesh!

It was really hard to get those two to bed tonight because they were so wrapped up in 'saving people' with all the new toys.

Thanks again, everyone!

Thanks to Richard too who did the last minute shopping before the party!

The Zoo

On Friday, it was raining, but I wanted to get the kids some fresh air. I decided to do boots and raincoats and head to the zoo.

It didn't take much to convince Erica that this was a good idea.

She was smarter though.. she remembered snow pants for extra water-protection.

It was a torrential downpour on the way to the zoo (and the way home), but it didn't rain for long once we were there.
Dexter, Rya, Jack, AJ

Artic Wolf

These are sad faces. AJ and the others are disappointed that the snack-shack was closed and they couldn't get ice cream (not that we were going to buy any). This was a potty-stop!

Love this one. Look how deep it is!

Well, I thought that I had pictures from last week's skating lessons and Grand-Dan's visit to see Dexter for his birthday, but I guess I didn't take any.

Last week, my dad came out to see Dexter for his birthday (he brought Light Sabers!) and to watch skating lessons. Dexter did a little better this week. We got there a bit early and fit in some fun skating before the lessons this time instead of after.

Grand-Dan took us for dinner at Milestone's after... yum! Thanks, Dad. The boys enjoyed their curly fries and virgin strawberry daquiris (or slurpees, as AJ calls them).

Another big thanks to Grand-Dan who is making it possible for Dexy to start preschool in February! Thanks again, Dad. Can't thank you enough.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting Ready for Dexter's Real Birthday Party and Some Other Stuff

The boys have been back on track with doing their chores which means back on track with being rewarded for their chores with activities of their choice like our foam block game. They love this one despite the look on Dexy's face. Really.

I kid you not... Dexter made this himself. He makes all kinds of things like horses and helicopters and dinosaurs. All of the things he builds actually look like the things he means to make. It impresses me. He makes things all symmetrical too.

Okay, so after a rainy day at the zoo with Erica and all the kids (pictures of that in the next post to come!), I started making Dexter's cake for his birthday party tomorrow.

Step one:
Bake the two round cakes.

Step two:
Level them.

Step three:
Cut them in half.

Step four:
Put icing in between and start to make a car.

Step five:
'Dirty ice' it.

Step six:
Start with lots of effort, making each little icing drop perfect.

Step seven:
Slowly get lazy and frustrated with your icing that gets warm in your hand, squishing out less and less perfect icing blobs as the time passes. Making sure that the rest of the cake is just 'good enough'.
That's supposed to be fire coming out the pipes at the Good thing I'm not getting paid for this.

In this pic, you can't see all the mistakes, so it's one of my favourite pics.

Hey! I totally forgot a back window! What the what?

Awwww. Happy Birthday, Dexy!


Last night, Grand-Dan came out for the boys' skating lessons and took me and the boys out for dinner! I think I may have a picture on my phone, so I won't talk about that night now.

Daddy came home this afternoon! This is not a good picture. He does not look that sick in real life. I wanted to get a picture of him playing Transformers with the boys. They were so excited to get to pretend with Daddy while I was making the cake.

I lost track of time making the cake, so dinner was pretty I made it look more exciting than it really is. Cucumber, ham, apple, and a bun (not pictured).

Monday, January 17, 2011

He Was Home for the Weekend Again!

What do you think this is?
tilt your head to the left to see it
a) a mess
b) fun
c) fun only for the boys
d) every pillow and blanket in my house
e) a bridge
f) my mess

If you guessed:
A, C, and E
you would be correct.

This is one of the boys' favourite (but not my favourite) things to do. It's all of their pillows and blankets from their rooms used to make a path (they call it a bridge) from their rooms to the living room.

Whatever you do, DO NOT fall off the bridge. There are consequences, like being eaten by a crocodile, or having to swim without water wings. Either way, tragedy.

Dexter Turned 3 on Saturday!

One of my cousins had another baby and I still haven't seen her.
Another cousin has a son that I haven't seen in like 9 months.
I didn't get to see all of my cousins (from my mom's side) at Christmas like I usually do.

So, a few days before Dexter's actual birthday, I sent out a quicky little note on Facebook to my cousins and aunties and uncles, and guess what?

Almost everyone was able to come! There were about 18-20 people in my little tiny living room and that includes Richard's mom, Norma, who not only got to meet much of my family for the first time, but also got to be introduced to how loud we are!

Hope you enjoyed that, Norma!

(ps - if you aren't in a picture, sorry I missed you or sorry it was too blurry to put up!)

Cousin Theresa, my mom (hiding beside her), Cousin Alina with her son, Caeden, Dexter, Richard, and the back of the head is Alina's other half, Rod.

My adorable brother (who got into the RCMP Youth Academy)!
And yes, he's wearing the shirt that I bought him for Christmas that matches the one that AJ and Dexter are wearing. My mom called ahead to see if he should wear it! Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Pollywog!

My cousin, Mike and AJ.

Cousin Theresa and my mom, holding baby Alexis.

In the middle is my cousin Shauna (mother of Alexis and Ethan), her husband, Mike, on the left, and her dad, Uncle Al on the right.

There are Rod and Caeden!

Missing from the pics are Cousin Michelle, Auntie Brenda, Norma, Ethan, and Mike's other half, Erin!

Dexter got Wolverine superhero jammies from Gram (my mom) and some Transformers too!

AJ was quite enamoured with the special jammies, so Grannie (Richard's mom) picked up some Batman ones the next day for AJ.

You can bet they'll be sleeping in these again tonight (minus the hoods).
They were zooming all over the place!

Next thing I knew, they evidently 'needed a break', so AJ took it upon himself to go get them some watered down apple juice.

That's right boys, gulp it back right before bed and hope that you don't have an accident.

Ice Skating Lessons Have Begun!

Phone pictures, sorry.

So, this picture is Dexter's class. There were about 10-12 kids and 3 teachers. The first class for this first level was spent figuring out the status of these little-kids' skills.
Dexter is 3rd from the left in the grey jacket and black helmet.

They first taught the kids how to stand up off of the ice. They then brought them on the ice, sang a little 'head and shoulders' and then had the kids trying to stand.

The kids who could stand and skate a few steps went with one teacher.
The kids who could stand and the fell again went with another teacher.
The kids (including Dexter) who just couldn't seem to get up all by themselves stayed with the other teacher and worked on standing
It was SOOOOO cute. I was welled up with tears the entire time!

AJ's in the second level. I'm glad I put him in that one. It said that the second level would be working on skating the length of the rink and learning to stop properly and such. Since I already knew he could skate across the rink independently, I took the chance and signed him up for this level. Seems that all the other kids in his class skate at the same skill level as him, so that was a good choice.
AJ is the one that looks all black and blurry. He's on the far right of the pack of kids there.

Dexter was VERY upset that he spent about 20 minutes of his 30 minute lesson on his hands and knees and not getting to actually skate.


We went over to the little rink after the lessons and I let the boys just skate around for fun for about another 30 minutes or more. It made for a very late night, but I know that this week, we'll eat an early dinner first.

Here's Dexter, much happier to be up on his skates. Single-bladed today because he had his lessons.

Here's AJ having fun with the training bar. He's having a race with his friend Armaan from preschool who just happens to be in his skating class too.
I had a really nice time at the lessons. I didn't have to skate or even go on the ice, really. I mean, I did, so I could take some pictures, but I know for next time, I can just stand at the side and chit chat with Armaan's mom!


I just want him home permanently already! He and Norma headed back to the Cancer Lodge on Sunday afternoon.

We are closing in on Day 100 for Richard.

Today was his next (probably 10th or 11th) bone marrow biopsy. He had the gentle doctor again for about the 3rd time (this is the one who whittles away for a long time and then gives up and has to call in a big-man-doctor to get through Richard's bones of steel. However, as in previous posts, you may recall that Richard would much rather have her whittle away for an hour than have a strong powerful man come in and do it in 1 minute. That's when it really hurts.

So, it was Dr. Gentle today and Richard reminded her of his strong bones, and past attempts. She successful whittled away slowly and gave Richard a wonderful bone marrow biopsy experience.

What also helps is the pain-perspective that Richard received when he was given the 3 way catheter . (I don't recommend visiting that link, but if you must, then there it is).

He said that they also took about 15 vials of blood today. Not sure if that's an accurate count or an exaggeration. I'm guessing it's close to accurate, as they've got LOTS of testing to do as he gets closer to Day 100 of the acute phase of his Stem Cell Transplant.

I'm hoping that he updates his blog again soon (maybe he already has) because he said lots of other stuff on the phone about pneumonia medication and double dose or something and needing to come in extra days to the LBMT this week since his appointment wasn't booked or something like that.

They're trying to get him to the point of not needing fluids.

Richard's a little worried about the bone marrow biopsy and the results. His platelets are low and he's a little nervous about what that means.

Send LOTS of positive thoughts (or prayers if you wish). He needs all that he can get!

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who came to Dexter's little shindig, and thanks for the birthday money from many naughty people who brought birthday $ even though I said NO GIFTS! He'll enjoy buying himself something very special.

A Thank you to Mom and Ken via Norma who asked me to thank you again for the Timmy's card. She's addicted to ice capps like I'm addicted to Americanos!

Thank you to Norma for staying with Richard these weeks while he's recovering and hopefully getting better and for being a super duper house guest! Not that you're a guest... you can consider this home while you're here, but you know what I mean.

A thank you to Norma too for AJ's jammies so that he looks as cool as Dexy.

A thank you to Aili who sent me a Starbucks card! Woot woot! You rock, pal!

And... Happy Birthday to Bud (aka Papa... aka Richard's step-dad)!